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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

This research raises alarm for pet owners

A representational image of three cats held by a person. New research raises the alarm of how viruses can jump from humans to animals. — Pexels

A new study has raised an alarm for pet owners with a stark revelation about how human beings are transferring viruses into animals rather than the other way around, reported Independent Monday.

A team of researchers from University College London (UCL) analysed open-source data of 12 million genomes, to study the transfer of microorganisms from one host to another.

Viruses that jump from animals to humans are called zoonotic viruses and can cause outbreaks, and pandemics such as Ebola, or COIVD-19.

The researchers have underlined that less attention has been given to human-to-animal transmission.

Co-author Professor Francois Balloux, UCL Genetics Institute, said: “We should consider humans just as one node in a vast network of hosts endlessly exchanging pathogens, rather than a sink for zoonotic bugs.”

The study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution also highlighted the evolution of those viruses suggesting that the broader the hosts are the more diverse the effects on other species would be.

“When animals catch viruses from humans, this can not only harm the animal and potentially pose a conservation threat to the species, but it may also cause new problems for humans by impacting food security if large numbers of livestock need to be culled to prevent an epidemic,” said lead author, Cedric Tan.

The author also highlighted how the virus that jumped from humans can return to them by evolving with strength from other animals, mentioning that the process of jumping could allow experts to understand the emergence of new diseases in humans and animals. 

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