A pangolin reportedly caused the coronavirus pandemic. | David Brossard


Interest in zoonosis, an infectious disease caused by a pathogen that has jumped from animals to humans has become a hot topic since the spread of coronavirus began.

Covid-19 was reportedly transferred to a human in Wuhan, China from a pangolin which looks like a scaly anteater. Illegal or poorly regulated trade of wild animals is one of the variables that could explain the increase in zoonosis.

According to the UN Environment Program there are five pillars that could bring more diseases and pandemics in the future, unless there’s a drastic change in human activity and habits:

Deforestation and changes in land use

This is usually linked to using land for a lumber or agricultural industrial activity and there are few human actions in the environment that are as devastating.

Illegal or poorly regulated wildlife trade

The lack of sanitary controls generates problems and risks for world health, by becoming mechanisms of transmission of diseases that can affect the health of ecosystems, humans and domestic livestock.

Intensive agriculture and livestock

These are activities derived from massive deforestation of areas which are home to around 70% of the planet's living beings.

The exponential multiplication of entry and exit of crops per cubic unit of agricultural land area is linked to the greater use of fertilisers, pesticides and other products that generate risks in aquifers and health.

Human Antimicrobial resistance developed via irresponsible use of antibiotics

According to the World Health Organisation, or WHO, drug resistance is facilitated by the inappropriate use of drugs, such as taking antibiotics to treat viral infections such as the cold or flu, or sharing treatment with other patients. Poor-quality medications, mis-prescription, and deficiencies in infection prevention and control are other factors that facilitate the emergence and spread of drug resistance.

Climate change

Desertification, associated with the increase in CO2 levels worldwide and global warming, is the cause and effect of multiple damages to the environment. Heat waves and droughts are a risk factor for both natural life and human life, and increase the risk of food security, especially for vulnerable populations.