The Darwinian lesson of COVID19

September 4, 2020 10:15 - 11:00

Location: Room 27A


Looking at the current Covid19 pandemic through an evolutionary prism has amply demonstrated our fragility and our interdependence with the rest of Nature. The Darwinian lesson of the COVID-19 is clear: the destruction of our environment turns against our health. Spillover pandemics have specific ecological causes in human activities that increase their likelihood: deforestation, poaching, illegal trade in endangered animal species. Viruses - biological entities much older than us - adopt simple but very efficient evolutionary strategies, and the eight billion humans have always been their target hosts. On the other hand, viruses have four formidable opponents: scientific research (vaccines; Global Virome Project; atlas of pathogens); hygiene; social progress; and environmental protection. If we will defeat the virus, we have to understand the virus' perspective, and its evolutionary logic. COVID-19 is a challenge to our scientific ignorance (we do not know enough about virus biodiversity) and a challenge of science communication.

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