Scientists Warn There’s Up To 850,000 Undiscovered Viruses In Animals That Could Infect Humans

by : Daniel Richardson on : 30 Oct 2020 17:42
viruses to increaseWikimedia Commons/Needpix

Due to the impact humanity is having on ecosystems, IPBES is warning that 540,000 to 850,000 unknown viruses could infect people unless a radical change occurs.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has sent out a grave warning after researching future viruses that may impact humans.


A workshop of 22 biologists, disease experts and ecologists resulted in a report that estimated that hundreds of thousands more viruses could impact people.

Amazon rainforestWikimedia Commons

President of EcoHealth Alliance Dr Peter Daszak explained the current situation and how it may evolve in the future:

There is no great mystery about the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic – or of any modern pandemic. The same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk through their impacts on our environment. Changes in the way we use land; the expansion and intensification of agriculture; and unsustainable trade, production and consumption disrupt nature and increase contact between wildlife, livestock, pathogens and people. This is the path to pandemics.


To combat this issue, the researchers recommended that £31–45 billion should be spent per year by governing bodies on reducing destruction to wildlife as well as the consumption of livestock that is integral to ecosystems.

pigs with african swine feverPA Images

While this may sound like a lot, the figure that was recommended is dwarfed by the £6–12 trillion that was spent by July of this year on combatting COVID-19.

The study by IPBES went on to note that COVID-19 was a man-made issue because of the impact humanity has on biodiversity, through eating habits and deforestation caused by consumerism. The report went on to reinstate the importance of governing bodies combating climate change to prevent the current challenges the world is facing reoccurring more frequently.


It is evident from this report that a focus on climate change, and reducing its effects, is essential in reducing the chances of further pandemics impacting the world. However, whether governing bodies will make tangible efforts to reduce pollution, meat consumption and deforestation remains to be seen.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. Through working with the likes of Game Rant, The Hook and What Culture, Dan pursued his interests in technology. The skills he picked up along the way are now being utilised with UNILAD.

Topics: Technology, Now, Tech, virus