Loss of biodiversity and increase in zoonotic epidemics

June 2020 - Scientific experts from the Ecofect LabEx participate to a report requested by the French authorities on the links between the COVID-19 epidemic and biodiversity.

At the request of the French Ambassador for Environmental Affairs and the Biodiversity Research Foundation, a large panel of scientific experts from the Paris Natural History Museum (MHNH), CNRS, INRAE, various universities, ANSES, etc have been working together to propose a report on the links between the loss of biodiversity and the increase of zoonoses (pathogens transmitting from animals to humans and vice versa).

This report is composed of 22 factsheets, each answering a specific question, such as :
  • What roles can eco-evolutionary processes play between humans and pathogens?
  • Are there taxonomic groups more likely than others to be the cause of zoonoses? If yes, why?
  • Is there a link between zoonoses and the erosion of biodiversity?
  • Should we develop new methods (and models) to predict zoonoses, and on what basis, or should we rather prioritize the monitoring of weak signals predicting a possible zoonosis?

These 22 factsheets highlight the elements of scientific consensus and disensus, identifying the knowledge gaps and research needs – including the specific COVID-19 case.

Designed for decision-makers, primarily for the French government, this report identifies the impact of degraded biodiversity on health and the challenges in terms of public health. It should also serve as a reference document in further discussions at the European and international levels.

You can download the full report (in french) on the website of the Research Foundation for Biodiversity