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Climate change may accelerate viral spillovers, study finds

Climate change may increase risk of new infectious diseases

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Climate change may accelerate viral spillovers, study finds
GNN Media: Representational Photo

According to a new study, climate change will result in thousands of new viruses spread among animal species by 2070—which is likely to increase the risk of emerging infectious diseases jumping from animals to humans.  

This is especially true for Africa and Asia, continents that have been hotspots for deadly disease spread from humans to animals or vice versa over the last several decades, including the flu, HIV, Ebola and coronavirus.

Researchers, who published their findings Thursday in the journal Nature, used a model to examine how over 3,000 mammal species might migrate and share viruses over the next 50 years if the world warms by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), which recent research shows is possible. 

They found that cross-species virus spread will happen over 4,000 times among mammals alone. Birds and marine animals weren’t included in the study.

Researchers said not all viruses will spread to humans or become pandemics the scale of the coronavirus but the number of cross-species viruses increases the risk of spread to humans.

The study highlights two global crises — climate change and infectious disease spread — as the world grapples with what to do about both.

Previous research has looked at how deforestation and extinction and wildlife trade lead to animal-human disease spread, but there’s less research about how climate change could influence this type of disease transmission, the researchers said at a media briefing Wednesday.

“We don’t talk about climate a lot in the context of zoonoses” — diseases that can spread from animals to people, said study co-author Colin Carlson, an assistant professor of biology at Georgetown University. “Our study ... brings together the two most pressing global crises we have.”

Experts on climate change and infectious disease agreed that a warming planet will likely lead to increased risk for the emergence of new viruses.

Daniel R. Brooks, a biologist at University of Nebraska State Museum and co-author of the book “The Stockholm Paradigm: Climate Change and Emerging Disease,” said the study acknowledges the threat posed by climate change in terms of increasing risk of infectious diseases.

“This particular contribution is an extremely conservative estimate for potential” emerging infectious disease spread caused by climate change, said Brooks.

Aaron Bernstein, a pediatrician and interim director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said the study confirms long-held suspicions about the impact of warming on infectious disease emergence.

“Of particular note is that the study indicates that these encounters may already be happening with greater frequency and in places near where many people live,” Bernstein said.

Study co-author Gregory Albery, a disease ecologist at Georgetown University, said that because climate-driven infectious disease emergence is likely already happening, the world should be doing more to learn about and prepare for it.

“It is not preventable, even in the best case climate change scenarios,” Albery said.

Carlson, who was also an author on the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said we must cut greenhouse gas and phase out fossil fuels to reduce the risk of infectious disease spread.

Jaron Browne, organizing director of the climate justice group Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, said the study highlights climate injustices experienced by people living in African and Asian nations.

“African and Asian nations face the greatest threat of increased virus exposure, once again illustrating how those on the frontlines of the crisis have very often done the least to create climate change,” Browne said.

SOURCE: AP

Mehak Javed

Mehak Javed is immensely creative and an enthusiastic journalist, contributing in the publication of timely and accurate news. She is a skilled writer along proven history of achievement in the field with several years of professional experience. Mehak is working with GNN since 2020.

Pakistan

Pakistan Navy seizes huge cache of drugs in Arabian Sea raid

Pakistan Navy is vigilant to counter any illegal activity and safeguard its maritime borders.

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Pakistan Navy seizes huge cache of drugs in Arabian Sea raid

Karachi: Pakistan Navy during action in the Arabian Sea foiled a bid to smuggle narcotics worth millions of dollars.

According to PN’s spokesperson, Pakistan Navy Ship DEHSHAT in collaboration with PN air units seized approximately 4500 Kilograms of drugs at the North Arabian Sea. While undertaking maritime security operations, PNS DEHSHAT intercepted the suspicious dhow and recovered a large cache of drugs valued approximately 6.7 million dollars in the international market.

The spokesperson said that the successful operation by the Pakistan Navy in the seizure of a huge quantity of narcotics is a testimony to the fact that Pakistan Navy remains combatted to fulfill national and international obligations and maintaining good order at sea. Pakistan Navy is vigilant to counter any illegal activity and safeguard its maritime borders.

The successful execution of the anti-narcotics operation is a demonstration of the Pakistan Navy's resolve to deter and disrupt illegal activities in the maritime zone of Pakistan, the PN spokesperson said.

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Pakistan

NA passes election amendment bill; scraps electronic voting

Law Minister rejected the impression that the amendment is aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.

Published by Mehak Javed

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NA passes election amendment bill; scraps electronic voting

Islamabad: The National Assembly on Thursday passed "The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022" to conduct pilot projects in bye-elections before using I-Voting and Electronic Voting Machines in the general elections.

Speaking on the occasion in the House, the Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar rejected the impression that the amendment is aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.

He said overseas Pakistanis are precious asset of the country and the government does not believe in snatching their right to vote.

Regarding use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), the Law Minister said we are not against use of technology, but we have concerns about misuse of technology as Results Transmission System had failed in last general elections to favour a particular political party.

He said the Election Commission of Pakistan had also expressed its inability to hold elections through I-Voting and EVMs in a short span of time and without proper homework.

He said two amendments are being brought to revive the Elections Act 2017, enabling the ECP to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.

Under the amendment in Section 94 of the Election Act, 2017, the Commission may conduct pilot projects for voting by Overseas Pakistanis in bye-elections to ascertain the technical efficacy, secrecy, security, and financial feasibility of such voting and shall share the results with the government, which shall, within 15 days from the commencement of a session of a House after the receipt of the report, lay the same before both Houses of the Parliament.

Under Amendment in Section 103 of the Election Act, 2017, the ECP may conduct pilot projects for utilization of EVMs and biometric verification system in the bye-elections.

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz Ahmed has said the Assembly should complete its tenure and elections should be held on time.

Responding to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's remarks, he assured that the opposition will play its positive and constructive role in running affairs of the House.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while speaking on the floor of the House, congratulated Raja Riaz Ahmed for becoming Leader of the Opposition.

He assured the Leader of the Opposition of his government's full cooperation in running business of the House in an amicable manner.

The Prime Minister said the treasury benches will pay utmost attention to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition by burying the bad traditions of the past.

Responding to a Calling Attention Notice, Minister of State for Interior, Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju assured the House to make every possible effort for the maintenance of government accommodations in Sector G-6 and F-6 of Islamabad.

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World

Death toll from Iran tower block collapse rises to 18

The number of people still trapped under the rubble remains unclear.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Death toll from Iran tower block collapse rises to 18

Tehran: Iranian authorities announced Thursday that 18 people were killed in the collapse of a building under construction in southwestern Iran, in a new toll after four days of the tragedy. 

On Monday, a large part of the 10-storey "Metropol" building under construction collapsed in Abadan, one of the main cities in Iran's Khuzestan province. The building is located in the middle of one of the busiest streets in the city of 230,000 people.

The number of people still trapped under the rubble remains unclear.

The cause of the collapse, which occurred during a sandstorm, is yet to be ascertained. 

Police, however, arrested the owner of the building and the project manager of the construction company that built it.

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