For well more than a year we have been living throughout the devastating effects of an extremely transmissible coronavirus. Though the pandemic it triggered is unprecedented by several steps, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is one of several SARS-related coronaviruses lurking among wildlife in certain areas of the planet, many of which may theoretically leap to individual inhabitants under the ideal conditions.

Figuring out exactly what these requirements are is a pressing priority, and scientists have made a great deal of progress on that front. They have discovered, by way of instance, when woods become caged by deforestation or streets, it raises the odds of a virus”spilling over” from animal to human. What is more of a puzzle is where, precisely, these circumstances come together to make the maximum threat for another coronavirus emergence.

A new study , published Monday in the journal Nature Food, starts to answer that important issue — especially, by identifying where another coronavirus may jump to people from horseshoe bats, that are known to transmit SARS-related coronaviruses.

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While the study doesn’t offer new insights about the origins of the novel coronavirus, which researchers suspect came from bats, it does point out where similar coronaviruses could emerge in the future. Alarmingly, the study finds that in many regions, especially southern China, these spillover risks are high. And it provides yet more evidence that preventing the next coronavirus pandemic will require reducing the root causes of a spillover, such as deforestation — not just responding to outbreaks after they happen