By Andy Ridgeway | Science Focus | June 4, 2021
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that has dominated the news since early 2020 has something in common with other diseases that have hit the headlines in recent years. SARS-CoV-2, just like Ebola, HIV and MERS before it, originated in wildlife before ‘spilling over’ into humans.
SARS-CoV-2 currently appears to have originated in horseshoe bats and was potentially transferred to humans via an unknown species, possibly pangolins. But other so-called zoonotic diseases (illnesses that spread from animals to humans, and vice versa) originated in the likes of chimps, camels and mice.to humans.
While the existence of zoonotic diseases has been known for decades, the coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp focus how closely our health is connected to the health of the animal species with which we come into contact.