In May 2020, Shivaprakash Nagaraju, senior scientist at The Nature Conservancy in India, was working in New Delhi when he contracted COVID-19. “I had breathing problems and other symptoms, and as a result I was isolated in my room for around two months,” he told Mongabay in a Zoom call. “And around that time there was news that COVID-19 likely originated in a wildlife market, and a lot of people were blaming the wildlife trade, so this built a curiosity in me to understand this connection.” While experts have not yet confirmed the initial source of the novel coronavirus, it is believed to have passed from an animal to a human, a process known as zoonosis, at a major wildlife market in Wuhan, China. This suspected link has drawn intense attention to the wildlife trade — both legal and illegal — over the last 18 months. The illegal wildlife trade at Kwa-maimai market in South Africa. Image courtesy of Trang Nguyen / WildAct Vietnam. Alone and completely separated from his family, Nagaraju began collecting literature on the wildlife trade and zoonotic viruses and analyzing it; a task that, he said, staved off depression: “Though I was infected and going through symptoms, to keep my mind thinking positive, I started collecting data. If I had not been infected, I might not have thought seriously about going deeper into this.” As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across much of the world, Nagaraju’s new research paper in Current Biology has uncovered vital…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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