Animals are key to stopping pandemics We must strengthen their defenses – Global issues

  • Idea by Carel du Marchie Sarvaas (Brussels)
  • Associated Press Service

In fact, countries have made first steps working towards revising the International Health Regulations governing reporting and national response to emerging pandemics, which were later found to be deficient during the initial COVID-19 outbreak.

However, with countries set to discuss a draft pandemic control treaty in August, there is increasing time to fully codify this knowledge if we are to prevent it. future outbreaks of zoonotic diseases. The recent monkeypox outbreak shows that the world is likely to stall when it comes to building defenses against emerging diseases.

At the same time, new vector-borne health threats – whether they originate in humans or animals – are emerging around the world, particularly as climate change creates new opportunities for outbreaks. outbreaks in previously less affected areas of the world.

Preventing the next pandemic is clearly no easy task. This is why the ‘One Health’ approach, one that recognizes the interrelationship between environmental, human and animal health, offers us the greatest opportunity to enhance global defenses against emerging diseases, which estimate 70% derived from wild animals. Clearly, a ‘One Health’ approach must be the foundation of global efforts to prevent the next pandemic.

Countries should first focus their efforts on establishing a New One Health Preparedness Unit, which will consolidate and unify international preparedness against emerging disease outbreaks. . Currently, government surveillance and detection programs are often overstretched and under-resourced, leaving countries – and the global community at large – unprepared for new threats.

In this context, a New International Health Preparedness Unit could bring together existing resources, such as the World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS), USAID’s GUESS projects to enhance pandemic preparedness, or environmental health monitoring by nonprofits such as EcoHealth Alliance, in the most efficient and effective way, and with a greater ability to do war game-style planning. In doing so, the international community can better map out potential epidemic threats and make collective decisions about how to best respond when they arise.

Second, countries could also prioritize new regulations and protocols to get products to market faster to address acute and ongoing crises as part of any draft agreement. any. The COVID-19 pandemic shows how important fast-tracking medical tools, like vaccines, can save lives and help respond faster to emerging pandemics.

Streamlining regulatory approval can significantly reduce the time it takes for vaccines to reach veterinarians, which in turn will improve livestock and livestock resistance to disease outbreaks.

As it stands, any modification to an existing source of animal vaccines requires new safety assessments, which means it can take months or years to react to a new disease variant. appear. Allowing previous safety assessments to be used to support vaccines for new strains would streamline this process, reduce barriers to vaccinating animals, and reduce health risks. community in the case of zoonotic diseases.

Finally, governments should also agree to fund and adopt new policies aimed at expanding global access to animal preventive health tools as part of any pandemic control treaty. any future translation. Prevention is always better than cure, but the defensive measures needed to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases are uneven worldwide.

Invest more in preventive measures, especially in biosecurity on farms, but also in diagnostic technologies that can detect health changes before serious symptoms appear, observable, can reduce not only the frequency but also the severity of disease outbreaks, as it has been in many Countries.

Europe, for example, has not seen the emergence of a large zoonotic disease since Q Fever more than a decade ago, while the UK reduce salmonella outbreaks 87% increase from the peak in 1992 – thanks to vaccination of poultry.

The lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is clear: the world is no longer able to cope with the threats to human and animal health, as well as the environment at large.

To ensure the world is fully prepared for the next pandemic, the linking principles of the ‘One Health’ approach must be at the core of any future pandemic prevention pact. .

IPS UN Office

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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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