Viral respiratory infections in a rapidly changing climate: the need to prepare for the next pandemic

Elsevier, eBioMedicine, Volume 93, July 2023
He Y., Liu W.J., Jia N., Richardson S., Huang C.

Viral respiratory infections (VRIs) cause seasonal epidemics and pandemics, with their transmission influenced by climate conditions. Despite the risks posed by novel VRIs, the relationships between climate change and VRIs remain poorly understood. In this review, we synthesized existing literature to explore the connections between changes in meteorological conditions, extreme weather events, long-term climate warming, and seasonal outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics of VRIs from an interdisciplinary perspective. We proposed a comprehensive conceptual framework highlighting the potential biological, socioeconomic, and ecological mechanisms underlying the impact of climate change on VRIs. Our findings suggested that climate change increases the risk of VRI emergence and transmission by affecting the biology of viruses, host susceptibility, human behavior, and environmental conditions of both society and ecosystems. Further interdisciplinary research is needed to address the dual challenge of climate change and pandemics.