According to a leading medical journal, climate change will have a huge impact on human health and bold decisions are needed now to protect the world’s population.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, Professor McMichael says that the risks to health are many, and include the impact of heat waves, floods and wildfires, changes in infectious disease patterns, the effect of worsening food yields and loss of livelihoods. He says, “Climate change is beginning to damage our natural life-support system.”
While it is unlikely to cause entirely new diseases it will alter the incidence, range and seasonality of many existing health disorders. The World Health Organization estimates that a quarter of the world?s diseases are caused by the contamination of air, water, soil and food. Due to climate change, by 2080, between 20 and 70 million MORE people could be living in areas with mosquitoes that carry malaria.
Scientists have searched for 20 years for a vaccine against malaria, which kills over one million people a year, and with global warming, their search is getting more intense. They are using a chimp virus to provoke an immune response in cells where the parasites responsible for malaria live. If they’re successful, they can use this immunity to create a vaccine.
BBC News quotes researcher Colin Sutherland as saying, “I think we are getting closer with a vaccine and there is more confidence now than there has been for 10 years. The problem is that it is so complex and if we do get there it will be one of the biggest vaccine achievements.”
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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