U.S. News & World Report - January 27, 2020

China's Coronavirus: How Do We Stop Such Deadly Threats?

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Often, the best that public health officials can hope for it to slow down ... Often, such an interdisciplinary collaboration is termed the "One Health ...

How do we fix this problem?

Many scientific and policy experts now recognize that humans and animals are inextricably linked. Animals are a huge part of the world's agricultural and food systems. However, despite the benefits of modern farm biosecurity measures, when a virus finds its way into a large farm, the virus may easily be sustained in the farm, passing from one generation of animals to the next.

The continuous viral reproduction can sometimes lead to mutations or the mixing of viruses and a never-before-seen virus may emerge. Hence, new collaborative partnerships must be forged between agricultural businesses and human, animal and environmental health groups so that emerging viruses can be better be detected and mitigation strategies developed before a novel virus crosses over to infect man. Often, such an interdisciplinary collaboration is termed the "One Health Approach." Many institutions are calling for One Health interdisciplinary collaborations as the best approach to complex problems such as emerging viral threats.

While there is much discussion about engaging in such collaborations, there is also much resistance from the agricultural industries as those businesses fear a negative impact on their commerce. It may eventually take legislation and policy to make One Health collaborations routine."

Contributor: Gregory C. Gray, MD, MPH Dr. Gray is a member of the One Health Initiative team's Advisory Board (Hon.)