An analysis in Science Advances has found that protecting wildlife can help prevent pandemics and save money. The report suggests that world leaders and policymakers should change their approach to zoonotic viruses to prevent the large-scale damage caused by pandemics.
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Every year, an average of 3 million people die from zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are those that are transmitted from wildlife to humans. The recent analysis shows that stopping the destruction of wildlife leading to human-animal contact can cost less than dealing with zoonotic diseases. Researchers say preventing natural destruction could cost the world about $ 20 billion a year, which is only 10% of the economic damage caused by the diseases.
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The newspaper criticizes governments and policymakers who only focus on dealing with the outbreak instead of prevention. “That premise is one of the greatest pieces of folly of modern times,” said the study’s lead author Professor Aaron Bernstein of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University. To address this issue, the paper has a three-point proposal.
Among the proposed actions are global surveillance of viruses in wildlife, strict control of hunting and wildlife trade and stopping deforestation. The researchers say these measures will not only help prevent zoonotic viruses, but also fight biodiversity and climate crises. Bernstein says the world needs to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and correct how issues are handled going forward.
“Our rescue comes cheap [because] prevention is much cheaper than cure, ”Bernstein said. “If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that we can absolutely not rely on post-overflow strategies alone to protect us. Spending only five cents on the dollar can help prevent the next tsunami of lives lost due to pandemics by preventing the wave from ever popping up, instead of paying trillions to pick up the pieces. ”
The analysis does not only focus on COVID-19. Additional zoonotic diseases cited in the analysis include multiple bird flu outbreaks, Ebola and Zika.
Via The Guardian
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