One Health approach key to predict, prevent future zoonotic outbreaks: Experts

April 6, 2024
The government's One Health approach is vital for both predicting as well as preventing any future zoonotic

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) The government’s One Health approach is vital for both predicting as well as preventing any future zoonotic — disease that jumps from animals to humans — outbreak, health experts opined on Saturday, ahead of the World Health Day which is marked every year on April 7.

This year’s theme ‘My Health, My Right’ focuses on equal access to quality health care.

“The government’s focus on the ‘One Health’ approach, recognising the interconnection between human, animal, and environmental health, is vital for predicting and preventing future zoonotic disease outbreaks,” Dr. Rohit Garg, consultant, infectious disease, Amrita Hospital Faridabad, told IANS.

The experts noted that the country’s response to recent outbreaks of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Nipah virus demonstrates its evolving capacity to manage infectious diseases.

They noted that lessons from each event have helped the country to improve its preparedness for future pandemics, including the hypothetical Disease X. “India’s response to recent disease outbreaks has been moulded by our experience with Covid-19. Recent moves to expand the existing network of biosafety-level 3 and 4 laboratories, to expand surveillance for respiratory viruses, invest in diagnostic infrastructure, and formulate a One Health approach towards emerging diseases are welcome and important steps towards tackling such challenges,” Gautam Menon, Dean, Research and Professor of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University, told IANS.

Besides ramping up testing facilities, expanding healthcare infrastructure, and contact tracing, during the Covid pandemic Indias significant measures included its vaccination drive.

It was one of the largest globally, and was pivotal, with India developing an indigenous vaccine, Covaxin, alongside deploying other vaccines.

“These actions highlighted the country’s ability to mobilise vast resources and innovate under pressure,” said Dr Rohit.

Similarly, during the Nipah virus outbreaks, although more localised, India employed rapid response teams, enhanced surveillance, and implemented containment measures.

“India, post-pandemic, is very different in terms of capacity for pathogen surveillance and pandemic prevention or control when compared to pre-pandemic times. This is partly infrastructural, in terms of greater scientific and health capacity, but mostly structural in terms of better-defined roles for existing organisations, and creation of new multi-stakeholder institutions e.g. for One Health,” Anurag Agrawal, Dean of Biosciences and Health Research at Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University, told IANS.

–IANS

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