FRB assess the relationship between COVID-19 and the state of biodiversity

The COVID-19 epidemic raises many questions. What are the links of this health crisis with wildlife, what are its links with the erosion of biodiversity, what are its links with certain food production systems and more generally with the anthropisation of the planet? To shed light on these subjects, public authorities have turned to research. The French ministries concerned and the research institutes that founded the Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB) entrusted the Foundation and its Scientific Council, enlarged to include outside experts, with the task of drafting a synthesis of knowledge on the links between COVID-19, and more generally between zoonosis phenomena – the passage of a pathogen from a component of wildlife to humans at the origin of an epidemic, and in this case a pandemic – and biodiversity.

Through the answers to 22 questions, the experts gathered by the FRB take stock of current knowledge, without hiding the subjects on which the scientific community may not be unanimous in its position. They also highlight the gaps in knowledge that should be the subject of a research effort while summarizing what is known today about the relationship between COVID-19 and the state of biodiversity. At the same time, they make a number of recommendations to public authorities aimed both at better detecting the risks of zoonotic disease outbreaks and at limiting their recurrence and spread.

This synthesis will evolve in the future as the factors behind the current pandemic become better known, but it already provides a better understanding of growing phenomena that may seriously endanger the future of humankind. This synthesis also calls on public authorities to integrate environmental issues and more particularly those associated with the accelerated erosion of biodiversity into their crisis exit strategy.

The report is available here (only available in french)