September 4, 2020 10:15 - 11:00
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.