The Ecology of the Emergence of Infectious Disease
Bats harbor the SARS-related coronaviruses that are most closely related to SARS-CoV-2.7 Hence, scientists suspect that a wild bat may be the source of SARS-CoV-2, yet the exact intermediate animal host has not been identified or confirmed. The scientific community strongly condemns the conspiracy theories about the origin of the coronavirus and supports the notion that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unexpected viral ¡°spillover¡± event from nature.
Overall, we know very little about virus populations in nature. There are 6,000 viral species that are known to infect animals, plants, and bacteria. It is estimated that more than 1 million virus species exist in mammals, and the number of unidentified mammalian viruses is currently unknown! The viral ¡°spillover¡± from this vast ¡°unknown¡± pool is becoming more and more frequent (Figure 1), but we have few technological countermeasures available to respond to these ¡°spillovers.¡±
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