.@EcoHealthNYC paper under peer review, now out on @medrxivpreprint. Analyzes hotspots of future bat SARSr-CoV spillover based on bat distribution/human pop. density. Also estimates # people likely infected each yr. @NYCbat @cmzambranat @hongying_li @dukenus @CREID_Network 1/
Here’s the preprint published yesterday medrxiv.org/content/10.110… 2/
We analyzed the distribution of all known bat SARSr-hosts, mapping out where virus-positive animals could occur. Hotspots extend from S. China across S/SE Asia, a densely populated region (~478 million people) w/ active wildlife trade & high levels of human-wildlife contact. 3/
We used serology data to estimate ~400,000 people in S. China/SE Asia infected each yr by SARSr bat-CoVs. Wide range around average due to limited serol. & behavior risk data. But we don’t expect this number is an overestimate due to dense popn. & high wildlife-human contact 4/
Our pilot studies in China before COVID found people w/ bat SARSr-CoV antibodies (~2.7% at 1 site) i.e. previously infected & never diagnosed. Used this & data on how long antibodies persist to calculate # of people likely infected annually. ecohealthalliance.org/wp-content/upl… 5/
Estimate of 400K annual infections likely conservative: 14 million people worked in wildlife farms/markets in China in 2016 & up to COVID outbreak. Farms bred animals that can carry CoVs but insufficient data on farm/intermediate host distribution to include in our analysis. 6/
Analysis has value for 1) targeting surveillance in people to halt outbreaks before they spread 2) working w/ communities to reduce risk behavior like hunting, butchering, eating wildlife 3) targeting COVID origins tracing studies. 7/ sciencedirect.com/science/articl…
.@EcoHealthNYC is already using maps to identify communities & clinics in SE Asia for surveillance, to build capacity in the region, & to design programs that reduce spillover risk to protect communities there, & all of us from emerging viral threats like SARS & COVID-19. 8/
Relevance to COVID origins: Adds to other scientific work suggesting SARSr-CoV spillover is common & widespread. Supports conclusion that bat-to-human spillover, poss via intermediate host in wildlife farm/market is most likely pathway for COVID origin. 9/ bloomberg.com/news/features/…
How are people exposed? Bats are abundant & diverse, nocturnal & often overlooked. Exposure via: contamination of food/surfaces w excrement or urine; hunting, butchering wildlife incl. bats; living near or sheltering in caves; digging bat guano as fertilizer w/out PPE etc. 10/
Key to reducing risk is to modify our own behavior in high-risk hotspots. We shouldn't blame bats - they're a beautiful & important part of ecosystem. They pollinate forest trees, remove pest insects, & even help produce Tequila by pollinating Agave! 11/ wired.com/2014/06/tequil…
This work was funded by @NIAIDNews @CREID_Network contract 1U01AI151797 “EID-SEARCH” to @EcoHealthNYC, Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, Pamela Thye, The Wallace Fund, & an Anonymous Donor c/o Schwab Charitable. We are grateful for your support! 12/ creid-network.org
Some news on this: bloomberg.com/news/articles/…
Bat data collated, cleaned/corrected & distributions modeled w/ expert oversight from co-authors @klphelps & @cmzambranat, based on @IUCNRedList modified for habitat suitability.

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More from @PeterDaszak

30 Jun
Happening Now!!! The "One Health” approach recognizes that human health is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment. Join @NASEM_Health on 6/30 for a webinar co-hosted by @OneHealthCom, @STIPWilson & @NMNH to learn more: bit.ly/3q0lWg1
Hear about how bat conservationists, policy makers and disease ecologists helped reduce risk of bat-human conflicts in Antonio, TX. Fascinating! @EpsteinJon @JamesCTobias
"A city government that looked before it leapt, and invited scientists to help inform policy" Great reporting as always from @JamesCTobias
Read 6 tweets
9 Jun
Critical read from @amymaxmen. Labs are set up to study viruses affecting their region: "WIV specializes in CoVs because they're found in & around China. 9/10 times, in a new outbreak, you’ll find a lab that will be working on these viruses nearby” nature.com/articles/d4158…
"Kristian Andersen says that Baltimore was incorrect... In SARS-CoV-2, about 3% of the nucleotides encoding arginine are CGG and around 5% of those encoding arginine in the virus that caused the original SARS epidemic are CGG, too."
“This was not some supremely adapted pathogen,” says Joel Wertheim, a molecular epidemiologist at @UCSDHealth
Read 6 tweets
5 Jun
Why is a journal with an impact factor of 3.74 publishing such clearly erroneous, innuendo-filled, unsubstantiated garbage? @ACSPublications tagline: "Most trusted. Most cited. Most read." Clearly false statements that are damaging to public health... pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/ac…
This is not science, it's conspiratorial pseudo-science: "An indicator that the NIH-funded research had gone too far arose when the tinkered CoV-RaTG13 became endowed at the spike protein"
Completely false, clearly political statement here: "NIH funded $3.7 million grant was approved by Trump’s COVID-19 advisor Anthony Fauci in 2015. The gain-of-function research was outsourced to the WIV.."
Read 9 tweets
31 May
.@mvankerkhove "Let the scientists be scientists.” against moves for political not public health gain "..forcing China to keep blocking an investigation has a point said @JamieMetzl. It makes “completely clear..that China intends to continue its..cover up” washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/…
Alternatives to @WHO study are inadequate: @LawrenceGostin "said..[US] domestic efforts would likely be hindered..'Members of Congress have zero access to the kind of data & specimens that it would need on the ground in China'. as far as he could see, it was 'political theater.'"
Here's what happens if you call out politicization of origins study. Shoddy piece about how I "sympathised with the Chinese government". Actually, I reported what WIV director said to WHO mission. telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/3…. Actual quote at 58:20 @profvrr microbe.tv/twiv/twiv-760/
Read 4 tweets
14 May
Looking forward to taking part in Congressional briefing today on Science Diplomacy at @UDBidenSchool hosted by the awesome @saleem_ali Q: What is the role of science on the public stage in a post-pandemic world? hillhappenings.com/list/2021/5/14…
...how will geopolitical factors influence research and policy on science re. the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the research enterprise, and supply chains and national security? Key goal – building scientific trust and collaboration in an increasingly fragmented world
Read 11 tweets
13 May
Prof Shi Zhengli re. call for more focus on lab-leak hypothesis: ".. will definitely damage the reputation & enthusiasm of scientists [working] on animal viruses which have potential spillover risk ..& weaken our ability ..to prevent the next pandemic.” technologyreview.com/2021/05/13/102…
Robert Garry @utmbhealth "“distracts from important work needed to identify the source of SARS-CoV-2..& completely misrepresents the outcomes of @WHO report [that] adds to the large volume of epidemiological and genomic data supporting zoonotic emergence" wsj.com/articles/scien…
.@K_G_Andersen "Letter suggests a false equivalence between the lab escape & natural origin scenarios. To this day no credible evidence has been presented to support the lab leak hypothesis, which remains grounded in speculation.” nytimes.com/2021/05/13/sci…
Read 11 tweets

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