A common health approach to prevent pandemics #ST39 [fr]
About 60% of infectious diseases in humans come from animal reservoirs.
When transmitted to humans via a vertebrate animal, these diseases are called zoonoses. The rabies virus, transmitted by dogs and foxes, and the virus responsible for AIDS, initially transmitted to humans by the great apes in Cameroon, are two known examples of zoonoses. This is also the case for COVID-19, the cause of the current pandemic, and which is suspected to have been transmitted to humans from bats.
The emergence of zoonoses has accelerated in recent years, with 75% of new infectious diseases being transmitted via an animal vector. This acceleration can be partly explained by increased contact of human populations and livestock with wildlife, due to the human destruction of natural habitats, in particular through deforestation. Given the considerable human and economic costs that zoonoses can create, it is essential to effectively reduce and prevent the emergence of these diseases.
Formulated in the early 2000s, the scientific concept of One Health expresses the interdependence of human, animal and environmental health. It has a holistic view of health, and highlights the need to understand and protect the environment in order to better protect ourselves from emerging diseases. The One Health approach is therefore interdisciplinary, bringing together the fields of medicine, veterinary sciences and ecology.
The Indo-Pacific region features many scientific projects that focus on the emergence and the prevention of zoonotic diseases through the One Health approach. Australian and French research institutes are particularly active in this field.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) are co-funding the “Research for One Health Systems Strengthening Program”. Studies of tuberculosis in cattle in Papua New Guinea, zoonotic malaria in pig-tailed macaque in Indonesia and Avian Influenza in poultry farm in the Mekong are among the research projects being carried out by Australian researchers.
The CIRAD, a French research centre specialised in agronomy, created the collective «Indian Ocean One Health Network». Created in 2015, this programme brings together more than 20 research institutions around a common objective: protecting livestock and local populations from zoonotic infectious diseases. Under the One Health initiative, the collective is involved in research projects such as monitoring the bluetongue virus in Mayotte, the West Nile virus in horses in the Indian Ocean, and the ticks in cattle in New Caledonia.
The fourth edition of the One Plannet Summit, an international summit committed to the preservation and restoration of biodiversity, took place on January 11. The link between deforestation, animal species and human health was one of the four themes addressed by the summit this year, and at the end of this event the PREZODE initiative was launched. PREZODE, or “PREventing Zoonotic Diseases Emergence”, aims to monitor, detect and reduce the risks of zoonoses worldwide. Initiated by the French research organisations of CIRAD, INRAE and IRD, more than 400 participants from around 50 countries have already joined the initiative. It represents an unprecedented opportunity for global collaboration under the One Health concept.