Investing in human, animal and environmental health Animal health and COVID-19 surveillance


The current pandemic and the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to and from mink has created a specific opportunity to pilot a One Health project, overcoming scientific and collaborative challenges to face current and future threats. The intersection of human, animal and environmental health, the One Health approach, is an important area of ​​effort and attention.

To meet this urgent need, Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) is investing in a new project through its COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding Initiative [LINK]. One Health Genomics: Investigation into COVID-19 adaptation in mink (and impact on other animals) COVID-19 AIM is headed by Dr. Natalie Prystajecky who heads the environmental microbiology program at the public health laboratory of the BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC). The project will develop a new genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in mink as a critical dimension of the management of this pandemic and the preparation for the emergence of future viruses.

“Despite the zoonotic origins of SARS-CoV-2, there has been relatively little investment in ‘One Health’ surveillance in animal hosts such as mink,” says Dr Prystajecky, who is also a clinical assistant professor. to University of British Columbia. “It is essential that we build the tools and collaborations to solve one health issues, especially as global warming and urbanization continue to be growing problems.”

The One Health approach is inherently difficult not only for logistical reasons such as sampling and transport, but also for institutional challenges. This project will focus on the development and refinement of shared diagnostic protocols for the detection of COVID-19 in animal reservoirs. These protocols will facilitate the surveillance of emerging infectious diseases in the future and a prepared collective approach to deal with them.

“This project is an extension of the ongoing collaboration between the BC Center for Animal Health and Center for Disease Control, BC Provincial Animal and Human Diagnostic Laboratories,” said Dr. Chelsea himsworth, responsible for veterinary science and diagnostics, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, and co-investigator on the project. “We are moving towards a truly integrated model for the detection and surveillance of emerging infectious diseases – a model that will allow the province to be better prepared to face infectious disease threats, both now and in the future. . This will undoubtedly result in efficiencies and innovations that will allow our team to better serve the people of British Columbia. “

The project team is an intergovernmental One Health unit comprising key leaders from the British Columbia Ministry of Health (through BCCDC) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries of British Columbia. Together, the group can respond to the threat of human-to-mink viral transmission, as well as build the capacity, knowledge and interagency collaboration needed for an effective response to future One Health zoonotic threats.

“This work is extremely important to inform the current and future surveillance and mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 in mink and potentially other animals,” said Dr. Federica di palma, Scientific Director and Vice President of Sectors at Genome British Columbia. “This investment supports our key partners and is an important step in advancing the One Health approach.”

Information from this project will also be shared with federal partners from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

About Genome British Columbia:

Genome BC is a non-profit organization supporting world-class genomics research and innovation to develop globally competitive life sciences sectors and deliver lasting benefits to British Columbia, Canada and beyond. The organization’s initiatives are improving the lives of British Columbians by advancing health care in addition to addressing environmental and natural resource challenges. In addition to science programming, Genome BC works to integrate genomics into society by supporting responsible research and innovation and fostering an understanding and appreciation of the life sciences among educators, students and the public.

@genomebc #genomebc

SOURCE Genome British Columbia

For further information: Jennifer Boon, Communications Manager, Public Relations and Media, Mobile: 778-327-8374, Email: [email protected]

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