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A new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health revealed a lack of appropriate tools to combat many infectious animal diseases that could have a significant impact on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


International efforts should focus on developing tools to control a number of priority infectious animal diseases, including Nipah virus infection, African swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and bovine tuberculosisscientists say, but progress is needed on a wide range of zoonotic, endemic and epidemic (including pandemic) diseases to ensure a healthy planet for people, animals and the environment.

The study, led by Dr. Johannes Charlier, DISCONTOOLS project manager, included an international team animal health experts evaluated the current state of available means of combating 53 major infectious diseases of animals.

The researchers found that while easy-to-use and accurate diagnostics are available for many animal diseases, there is an urgent need to develop stable and long-term diagnostics that can distinguish infected from vaccinated animals and assess other disease characteristics such as transmission, impact on animal productivity and welfare.

They add that there is also an urgent need to take advantage of rapid technological advances and make diagnostics widely available and affordable. Scientists call for further research to improve usability and duration of immunity, and to create effective marker vaccines.

The study highlights that the biggest gap in animal pharmaceuticals is the threat of pathogens developing resistance to available drugs, especially for bacterial and parasitic (protozoa, helminth and arthropod) pathogens.

Dr. Charlier and his research colleagues suggest five priorities for animal research health which will help ensure a sustainable and healthy planet. These are vaccinology, antimicrobial resistance, climate mitigation and adaptation, digital health and epidemic preparedness.

Dr. Charlier says that “animal health is a prerequisite for global health, economic developmentfood security, food quality and poverty reduction while mitigating the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss”.

“If we are to achieve the SDGs, further research into appropriate control tools is needed to reduce the burden of animal diseases, including zoonoses, and to manage emerging diseases, pandemic threats and antimicrobial and antiparasitic resistance.”

Scientists used DISCONTOOLS – an open access database and key resource for the International Research Consortium STAR-IDAZ, as well as for other funders of animal health research, including trusts and industry organizations – to assess the current state of relevant control tools for 53 major infectious diseases animals.

DISCONTOOLS identifies knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to accelerate the development of new DISEASE CONTROL TOOLS (diagnostics, vaccines, and pharmaceuticals) and reduce the burden of animal disease. This has benefits in terms of animal health and welfare, public health and safe and secure food.

The DISCONTOOLS resource was then used to prioritize a list of infectious animal diseases where relevant control tools are lacking and where addressing this need would have the greatest impact on achieving the relevant SDGs.

Dr. Charlier added that “to achieve maximum impact, it is important to pay appropriate attention to epidemics, zoonoses and endemic diseases. While epidemic diseases attract a lot of attention because of their sudden and devastating impact, the huge impact of more chronic diseases is less visible and therefore , are often forgotten.”

“Prevention of these diseases will require not only the development of new technologies, but also continued investment in diagnostic networks and research infrastructures, supply chains, capacity building and international cross-sectoral coordination.”

Roxanne Feller, general secretary of AnimalhealthEurope (the trade association for the animal medicine industry) and board member of DISCONTOOLS, supports the research and added that “the potential for the transmission of infectious diseases between animals and humans is a One Health issue recognized at the highest level. signaling that it is time for all of us to move from firefighting to fire prevention.”

“The impact of animal diseases spreads even further public healthfrom the devastating socio-economic consequences for those who rely on livestock for income, to the negative impact on the environment due to the use of feed and the emissions that are created without food production.”

“Thanks to public and private investment in innovative early research, the animal health industry as a whole can focus on unlocking the secrets needed to develop new generations of vaccines, diagnostics and other treatments to prevent animal disease and avoid adverse outcomes.”

Alex Morau of STAR-IDAZ IRC says that “animal diseases are in most cases global problems and therefore require a focused global approach to understand and control them. To accelerate the process of innovation from basic science to the right products, it is essential to work together internationally and along the research pipeline, focusing resources in a coordinated manner on critical knowledge gaps and identified product needs: we cannot all do everything.”


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Additional information:
Disease control tools to ensure animal and population health in a populous world, The Lancet Planetary Health (2022). DOI: 10.1016/PIIS2542-5196(22)00147-4

Courtesy of CABI

Citation: New research reveals lack of adequate tools to fight many major infectious animal diseases (2022, October 5) retrieved October 5, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-lack-tools-major-infectious -diseases .html

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