Whether it's diseases from bats, birds, pigs, or mosquitoes, climate change brings with it an increased risk of animal-borne (or "zoonotic") diseases that can transmit to humans.
Digital Science, a technology company serving stakeholders across the research ecosystem, has today released its analysis of the global research response to climate change and zoonotic diseases, in the context of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on climate and health.
Using data from Dimensions, Dr Briony Fane, Ann Campbell and Dr Juergen Wastl from Digital Science have explored published research, research funding, policy documents, and citation data. Using Google BigQuery (GBQ), they also integrated data from Dimensions with one of the publicly available World Bank datasets.
The authors have highlighted global disparities in funding for research, research collaborations, and recognition for research based on geographical and socio-economic location.
They write: "What is apparent is that governments around the world are investing large sums of money as part of the global mission to halt the spread of animal diseases and to protect the public against zoonotic disease outbreaks before they become pandemics that pose a risk globally.
"Many of the health impacts associated with climate change are a particular threat to the poorest people in low- and middle-income countries where the burden of climate sensitive diseases is the greatest."
Their findings highlight:
Research publications in the fields of zoonotic diseases and climate change have increased more than two-fold since the implementation of the SDGs in 2016.
The representation of low-income country researchers in these fields of research is 40 times greater than high-income country researchers.
Government organizations and non-profit agencies in the Global North (broadly speaking, developed nations) award much of their funding for research in these fields in the Global South (developing nations).
Research collaboration patterns reveal that researchers in Global South countries are more likely to collaborate with researchers in the Global North than vice versa.
Despite being strongly represented in these fields, research carried out on zoonotic diseases and climate change in lower income countries is less well cited by higher income countries.