Home » World News » It could happen AGAIN: Scientists warn fatal NEW bat virus ‘jumping to humans’ – alert
It could happen AGAIN: Scientists warn fatal NEW bat virus ‘jumping to humans’ – alert
November 6, 2020
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Nipah virus, a virus common in bats in Bangladesh and India, could evolve into a more dangerous strain which could quickly spread through the human population, a researcher has warned. It has been listed by the World Health Organization as one of the 10 highest-priority pathogens which must be urgently dealt with, due to the damage it could cause. Dr Jonathan Epstein, of EcoHealth Alliance, issued the alert in a worrying new paper published as the world struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
He said in a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences research paper: “It is repeatedly jumping from bat hosts into people and it causes high fatality events.
“Unlike Sars-CoV-2, it’s not as easily transmitted from person to person.
“But we’re concerned that there may be a genetic strain or variant of Nipah virus that exists in bats that is able to efficiently spread from person to person.
“And should that emerge the result could be a widespread outbreak of a highly fatal disease.”
The virus can spread to humans after eating fruit contaminated by bats.
However, scientists were concerned to discover the virus is also spreading when no contaminated fruit was eaten.
It can lead to encephalitis, a disease that inflames the brain and can lead to death.
Dr Epstein said: “You could have Nipah outbreaks in any part of south east Asia.
“We haven’t been paying close enough attention and there’s a real risk that we’re going to miss an outbreak.”
It comes just two months after another paper warned the world was facing a wave of pandemics.
Anthony Fauci, America’s top disease expert, and epidemiologist David Morens warned of “extreme backlashes from nature” in the years ahead.
They wrote for scientific journal Cell: “Science will surely bring us many life-saving drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics.
“However, there is no reason to think that these alone can overcome the threat of ever more frequent and deadly emergences of infectious diseases.
“In a human-dominated world, in which our human activities represent aggressive, damaging, and unbalanced interactions with nature, we will increasingly provoke new disease emergences.
“Covid-19 is among the most vivid wake-up calls in over a century. It should force us to begin to think in earnest and collectively about living in more thoughtful and creative harmony with nature, even as we plan for nature’s inevitable, and always unexpected, surprises.”