The COVID-19 pandemic and global environmental change: emerging research needs

The outbreak of COVID-19 raised numerous questions on the interactions between the occurrence of new infections, the environment, climate and health. The European Union requested the H2020 HERA project which aims at setting priorities in research on environment, climate and health, to identify relevant research needs regarding Covid-19. The emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be related to urbanization, habitat destruction, live animal trade, intensive livestock farming and global travel. The contribution of climate and air pollution requires additional studies. Importantly, the severity of COVID-19 depends on the interactions between the viral infection, ageing and chronic diseases such as metabolic, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and obesity which are themselves influenced by environmental stressors. The mechanisms of these interactions deserve additional scrutiny. Both the pandemic and the social response to the disease have elicited an array of behavioural and societal changes that may remain long after the pandemic and that may have long term health effects including on mental health. Recovery plans are currently being discussed or implemented and the environmental and health impacts of those plans are not clearly foreseen. Clearly, COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on the environmental health field and will open new research perspectives and policy needs.


SARS-COV-2, Biodiversity, Urbanization, Climate, Chemicals, Transformational change

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Barouki Robert, Kogevinas Manolis, Audouze Karine, Belesova Kristine, Bergman Ake, Birnbaum Linda, Boekhold Sandra, Denys Sebastien, Desseille Celine, Drakvik Elina, Frumkin Howard, Garric Jeanne, Destoumieux-Garzon Delphine, Haines Andrew, Huss Anke, Jensen Genon, Karakitsios Spyros, Klanova Jana, Koskela Iida-Maria, Laden Francine, Marano Francelyne, Franziska Matthies-Wiesler Eva, Morris George, Nowacki Julia, Paloniemi Riikka, Pearce Neil, Peters Annette, Rekola Aino, Sarigiannis Denis, Šebková Katerina, Slama Remy, Staatsen Brigit, Tonne Cathryn, Vermeulen Roel, Vineis Paolo (2021). The COVID-19 pandemic and global environmental change: emerging research needs. Environment International. 146. 106272 (5p.).,

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