Was the COVID-19 pandemic avoidable? A call for a "solution-oriented" approach in pathogen evolutionary ecology to prevent future outbreaks

Ecol Lett. 2020 Nov;23(11):1557-1560. doi: 10.1111/ele.13586. Epub 2020 Aug 31.


Concerns about the prospect of a global pandemic have been triggered many times during the last two decades. These have been realised through the current COVID-19 pandemic, due to a new coronavirus SARS-CoV2, which has impacted almost every country on Earth. Here, we show how considering the pandemic through the lenses of the evolutionary ecology of pathogens can help better understand the root causes and devise solutions to prevent the emergence of future pandemics. We call for better integration of these approaches into transdisciplinary research and invite scientists working on the evolutionary ecology of pathogens to contribute to a more "solution-oriented" agenda with practical applications, emulating similar movements in the field of economics in recent decades.

Keywords: COVID-19; biodiversity; evolutionary ecology; pandemic; transdisciplinary research.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19*
  • Coronavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Ecology
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / epidemiology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Solutions


  • Solutions