Why in news?

  • In a new report released by the IPBES, the authors have warned that future pandemics will emerge more often, they’ll spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world and kill more people than COVID-19, unless significant measures are taken.


Findings of the report:

  • The report notes that COVID-19 is at least the sixth pandemic to have taken place in the last century since the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.
  • Three of the pandemics were caused by influenza viruses, one by HIV followed by SARS and COVID-19. While the current pandemic’s origins lie in microbes carried by animals, “like all pandemics, its emergence has been entirely driven by human activities.
  • There are over 1.7 million currently ‘undiscovered’ viruses that exist in mammals and birds, out of which up to 827,000 could have the ability to infect people.
  • More than 70 per cent of emerging diseases, such as Ebola, Zika and Nipah, are caused by microbes found in animals that spill over due to contact among wildlife, livestock and people.
  • About 30 per cent of emerging infectious diseases are attributed to land use change, agricultural expansion and urbanization.
  • The report suggests that pandemic risk can be lowered by reducing the human activities that drive loss of biodiversity, by greater conservation of protected areas and through measures that reduce unsustainable exploitation of high biodiversity regions


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