Association between human coronaviruses' epidemic and environmental factors on a global scale

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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 Oct 5. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-16500-y. Online ahead of print.


Environmental factors could influence the epidemic of virus in human; however, the association remains intricate, and the evidence is still not clear in human coronaviruses (HCoVs). We aimed to explore and compare the associations between HCoVs’ epidemic and environmental factors globally. Four common HCoVs’ data were collected by a systematic literature review, and data of MERS, SARS, and COVID-19 were collected from the World Health Organization’s reports. Monthly positive rates of common HCoVs and incidence rates of MERS, SARS, and COVID-19 were calculated. Geographical coordinates were used to link virus data and environmental data. Generalized additive models (GAMs) were used to quantitatively estimate the association of environmental factors with HCoVs’ epidemic. We found that there are wide associations between HCoVs and environmental factors on a global scale, and some of the associations were nonlinear. In addition, COVID-19 has the most similarities in associations’ direction with common HCoVs, especially for HCoV-HKU1 in four environmental factors including the significantly negative associations with average temperature, precipitation, vegetation coverage (p<0.05), and the U-shaped association with temperature range. This study strengthened the relevant research evidences and provided significant insights into the epidemic rules of HCoVs in general. The similarities between COVID-19 and common HCoVs indicated that it is critically important to strengthen surveillance on common HCoVs and pay more attention to environmental factors’ role in surveillance and early warning of HCoVs’ epidemic.

PMID:34609683 | DOI:10.1007/s11356-021-16500-y