Call for a COVID-19 One Health Research Coalition

Emerging from its ancestral bat host in December 2019,
1
  • Zhou P
  • YangXL
  • Wang XG
  • et al.
An epidemic of pneumonia associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin.

possibly at a wildlife trade market in Wuhan, China,

2
A genomic perspective on the origin and emergence of SARS-CoV-2.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) had spread by mid-April 2020 worldwide, infecting more than 2 million people and causing at least 130,000 deaths. Travel restrictions have been imposed, borders sealed, schools and businesses closed and more than half of humanity locked down, all to reduce the spread of this virus.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not only a global pandemic caused by the zoonotic SARS-CoV-2, but represents a critical pivot point in modern times, joining only a few episodes in recorded history. The unique characteristics of this world-changing event are its presumed origin at the human-environment-animal interface and its rapid explosion due to unprecedented levels of human interconnectivity, mobility and global commerce.
3
  • Tatem AJ
  • Hay SI
  • DJ Rogers
Global trafficking and dispersal of disease vectors.

COVID-19 embodies why One Health, which recognizes the fundamental interdependence of humans, animals and their shared environment, is essential to ensuring the healthy and sustainable future of the planet.

There is significant global consensus on many issues related to the health and sustainability of our socio-economy and ecosystems. For example, global health challenges, such as emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance and non-communicable diseases, are further fueled by global trends related to climate change, population growth, consumerism, poverty , conflict and migration.
4
Emergence of Infectious Diseases and Global Change: Thinking Systems in a Shrinking World.

However, many things still remain unclear or unknown. The world cannot afford to move forward without some foresight, because missteps can lead to disaster. Nor can the world afford to be rigid in its course. Flexibility will be needed as knowledge advances. Research grounded in the recognition that the health of our planet depends on the symbiotic relationships between humans, animals and the environment we share and in the understanding that we are interconnected by default must gather evidence for a framework within which to interpret and apply this evidence to prevent further global disasters.

The presidents of the Lancet The One Health Commission, along with its colleagues, calls for the creation of an inclusive and transparent COVID-19 One Health Research Coalition to strengthen connections with the evolving climate change and planetary health research community. This multidisciplinary and multilateral coalition would galvanize the research community and funders to design, undertake, coordinate and synthesize research at the human-environment-animal interface for the creation of a healthy and sustainable reconnected future for our planet.

The COVID-19 One Health Research Coalition is currently hosted by the Secretariat of the Lancet A health committee. Inquiries about the coalition can be sent to [email protected]

ASW and JHA are co-chairs of the Lancet A health committee. All other authors declare no competing interests.

The references

  1. 1.
    • Zhou P
    • YangXL
    • Wang XG
    • et al.

    An epidemic of pneumonia associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin.

    Nature. 2020; 579: 270-273

  2. 2.

    A genomic perspective on the origin and emergence of SARS-CoV-2.

    Cell. 2020; 181: 223-227

  3. 3.
    • Tatem AJ
    • Hay SI
    • DJ Rogers

    Global trafficking and dispersal of disease vectors.

    Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2006; 103: 6242-6247

  4. 4.

    Emergence of Infectious Diseases and Global Change: Thinking Systems in a Shrinking World.

    Infect Say Poverty. 2012; 1: 5

Related articles

  • One Health or Planetary Health for pandemic prevention?
    • It is a well accepted narrative that forest disturbance, rapid urbanization and population growth are driving zoonotic events simply by increasing close contact between humans and animals.1 However, these predictor variables (eg, urbanization, land use, human population density) only explain about 30% of the total variation in zoonotic potential.2 With advanced technologies, vertebrate RNA viruses, despite being transmitted between species, have been shown to have co-evolved with their hosts over millions of years, which only reinforces the theory that zoonotic diseases caused by RNA virus spillover, such as COVID-19, are linked to human activities and the transformation of ecosystems.

    • Full Text

    • PDF

  • One Health or Planetary Health for pandemic prevention? – Response from the authors
    • One Health recognizes the fundamental interdependence and the complex interdependence of all living species and their common environment.1 Thus, the view that One Health only focuses on human-animal interaction, mainly deals with the risk of zoonotic events, and that these events occur due to urbanization, land use and increase in human population density, thus suggesting that One Health is sufficient to deal with pandemic risks, is flawed. Nevertheless, there is ample evidence that pathogens of zoonotic origin account for more than half of all emerging or re-emerging human infectious diseases,2 often with pandemic potential.

    • Full Text

    • PDF

Comments are closed.