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Business News/ Science / Health/  China’s ‘batwoman’ scientist warns another ‘highly likely’ coronavirus outbreak in future: Report
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China’s ‘batwoman’ scientist warns another ‘highly likely’ coronavirus outbreak in future: Report

Virologist warns that another coronavirus outbreak is 'highly likely' in the future, based on recent study.

China’s best-known virologists, Shi Zhengli, popularly known as 'batwoman' has warned that it is 'highly likely' that another coronavirus outbreak will appear in futurePremium
China’s best-known virologists, Shi Zhengli, popularly known as 'batwoman' has warned that it is 'highly likely' that another coronavirus outbreak will appear in future

China’s best-known virologists, Shi Zhengli, has warned that it is “highly likely" that another coronavirus outbreak will appear in future, a report in South China Morning Post

In a recent paper written with colleagues, Shi who is also popularly known as “batwoman," warned that the world must be prepared for another disease like Covid-19 because “if a coronavirus caused diseases to emerge before, there is a high chance it will cause future outbreaks," she said as quoted by the SCMP. Shi earned the nickname of ‘batwoman’ over her studies on viruses that spread from animals, particularly bats to humans.

Also Read: Biden government to deliver free COVID tests to US households and invest $600 million in domestic manufacturers

In the study, Shi’s team from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, assessed the likelihood of 40 coronavirus species spreading to humans, of which they rated half of them as “highly risky". As per the report, 6 are already known to have caused diseases that infected humans, moreover, evidence also suggested that three more of them caused disease or infected other animal species. 

Also Read: 42% graduates under 25 years remained jobless post-covid

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The conducted study was based on the examination of viral traits which include size, genetic diversity, host species and prior zoonotic infections which means diseases that spread from animals to people.

Also Read: Nipah has around 70% mortality rate, Covid had 3%: ICMR

“It is almost certain that there will be future disease emergence and it is highly likely a [coronavirus] disease again," the study warned as reported by SCPM.

According to the research, Shi and her colleagues also identified important hosts of the pathogen, including natural hosts like bats and rodents or potential intermediate hosts like camels, civets, pigs or pangolin, the report states.

Meanwhile, the paper was published in July issue of the Journal Emerging Microbes & Infections in English, but it wasn't until this month that it received notice on Chinese social media. The late attention by Chinese can be due to partly due to the language, but a scientist from country’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention claims that the lack of early Chinese attention also reflected a desire to move on from the topic following the abrupt change in China's zero-Covid rules.

“Sometimes in private conversations, when talking with other public health scholars, we have noticed that intentionally or unintentionally, Chinese authorities are downplaying Covid-19, and some cities have stopped releasing infection data," he said as quoted by SCMP.

Speaking about the study by Shi and her colleagues, the CDC scientist said, “Such studies are not regarded as groundbreaking or technically challenging and thus less valued in the field, but they are important," as quoted by the report.

Meanwhile, in the UK, healthcare professionals are now gearing up for a potential new pandemic known as "Disease X." They caution that this new virus could have a similar impact to the devastating Spanish Flu of 1918-1920. Health experts are sounding the alarm about "Disease X," a term coined by the World Health Organization. They warn that this potential new pandemic has the capacity to result in 20 times more fatalities than the coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020 and has tragically claimed the lives of over 2.5 million people worldwide. Here are the top 10 points about Disease X.

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Updated: 26 Sep 2023, 02:24 PM IST
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