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Study finds humans are transmitting more viruses to animals




Humans spread more viruses to animals: Study

London, March 25 (IANS) – A study conducted by researchers at the University College London reveals that humans are not only susceptible to receiving viruses from animals, but also frequently spread viruses to wild and domestic animals, challenging the traditional belief that humans are a virus sink.

Lead author Cedric Tan, a doctoral student at UCL’s Genetics Institute and Francis Crick Institute, stated that the transmission of viruses from humans to animals can have detrimental effects on the animals, posing a conservation threat, and potentially leading to issues like the need to cull livestock to prevent epidemics, as seen with the H5N1 bird flu strain in recent years.

The researchers’ analysis of nearly 12 million viral genomes showed that there were roughly twice as many host jumps from humans to other animals (anthroponosis) compared to the other way around. This pattern was consistent across various viral families, indicating that humans play a significant role in the spread of viruses to animals.


Professor Francois Balloux from UCL Genetics Institute emphasized the importance of viewing humans as just one node in a complex network of hosts exchanging pathogens, rather than being a mere sink for zoonotic bugs. The study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, calls for a better understanding of how viruses evolve and jump between different hosts to prevent new viral diseases in humans and animals.

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