How has Covid-19 changed our view of the One Health agenda? – François – 2021 – Veterinary File


THE current Covid-19 pandemic has changed our perception of disease threats and their control in several ways. Before January 2020, the word “zoonotic” was unfamiliar to the majority of the population, and even now I wonder if many really understand what it means.

Yet when we talk about 75 percent of new or emerging infectious diseases in humans coming from animals, individuals really stand up and take notice. This link between animals and humans has highlighted the importance of the One Health agenda. Collaboration between human and animal health researchers provides the opportunity to advance the understanding of zoonotic diseases and encourages a common translational approach to medicine through the sharing of ideas. Although the One Health concept has been with us for many years, unfortunately its goals have not yet been fully implemented and the benefits realized.

One One Health threat presented by Covid-19 is the observation that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can be transmitted from humans to animals. This ability to infect other species and potentially be transmitted to humans will need to be carefully monitored through improved screening programs.

The rapid response of the scientific community to the Covid-19 epidemic and the development of vaccines within a year of viral genome sequencing is truly remarkable, and it has dramatically changed our perception of what can be achieved. However, before we get carried away, let’s note that this is the result of decades of investing in vaccine know-how and new delivery technologies. Indeed, many groups had already demonstrated proof of concept by developing vaccine prototypes against other related zoonotic coronaviruses, and highly effective vaccines against animal coronaviruses have been available for many years. So when this current pandemic happened, we already knew that it was possible to vaccinate against diseases caused by coronaviruses and we had the right technology and tools out of the box. It was great that there was some interaction between human and veterinary vaccine researchers at the start of the Covid-19 vaccine development programs, but I don’t think it was as significant as it could have been. ‘to be ; some of the important lessons in animal health have not been fully taken into account, such as the fact that broad cross-protective immunity can be developed by combining different strains of coronavirus in a vaccine.

“Any future pandemic preparedness strategy cannot ignore the importance of such a partnership

We shouldn’t expect vaccines to be available so quickly against all new pandemic threats – the normal development time for a typical human vaccine is 10 to 15 years and this should be taken into account when developing. any new preparation strategy. In contrast, vaccines against veterinary diseases typically only take three to six years to develop, and this can be further accelerated in response to new emerging threats. To achieve this rapid response, a clear vaccine development plan must be put in place based on known vaccine platform technology, combined with support from industry, government and regulatory authorities. Human health researchers should learn lessons from such an approach and ensure that these same fundamental principles are involved in strategies to prepare for new threats to human health.

Many new vaccine technologies often find their first application in veterinary medicine. There are now several examples of registered commercial veterinary vaccines derived from biotechnology. These same technologies are now, for the first time, the basis of many vaccination strategies against Covid-19.

It is clear that there is much to learn from veterinary medicine and the opportunities it offers us to develop and test improved disease control strategies for animals and humans. I hope that as we discover more about the risks posed by zoonoses, this will translate into a stronger commitment to a One Health approach to the disease, leading to closer collaboration between communities of veterinary and human research. I believe that any future pandemic preparedness strategy cannot ignore the importance of such a partnership.


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