New research indicates tools for the control of major diseases to ensure animal health and public health



A research published in The Lancet Planetary Health  has identified appropriate tools for the control of infectious animal diseases, which can have a significant impact on the UN’s sustainable development goals.



International efforts should focus on the development of control tools for a number of main concern infectious animal diseases, including infections with Nipah virus, African swine fever Foot and Mouth disease, and bovine tubercolosis - say scientists - but further progress is needed for a wide range of zoonotic, endemic and epidemic diseases (including pandemics) to ensure a healthy planet for humans, animals and the environment.



The study, led by Dr Johannes Charlier, project manager of DISCONTOOLS (DISease CONtrol TOOLS), and comprising an international team of animal health experts, assessed the current state of control tools available for 53 major infectious animal diseases.





Five research priorities to ensure animal health



Researchers found that although accurate and easy-to-use diagnostic methods are available for many animal diseases, there is an urgent need for the development stable and durable diagnostic methods that differentiate infected animals from vaccinated animals and to assess other disease characteristics such as transmissibility, impact on animal productivity and welfare. Moreover, it is also necessary to exploit rapid technological advances, and to make diagnostics widely available, affordable and reliable.


In addition, fundamental research is needed to improve the convenience of use and duration of immunity, and to establish performant marker vaccines.




Research shows that the largest gap in veterinary medicines is the threat of pathogens developing resistance to available drugs, in particular for bacterial and parasitic (protozoal, helminth, and arthropod) pathogens. Dr Charlier and fellow researchers propose five research priorities for animal health that will help to deliver a sustainable and healthy planet: vaccinology, antimicrobial resistance, climate mitigation and adaptation, digital health, and epidemic preparedness.



Scientists used DISCONTOOLS, an open access database and key resource for the International Research Consortium STAR-IDAZ, as well as for other animal health research funders, including trusts and the pharmaceutical industry, to assess the current status of appropriate control tools for 53 important infectious animal diseases.



 DISCONTOOLS identifies knowledge gaps that need to be filled to accelerate the development of new control tools (diagnostics, vaccines and drugs) and reduce the impact of animal diseases. This offers advantages in terms of animal health and welfare, public health and a secure food supply system.



DISCONTOOLS has therefore been used to prioritise animal infectious diseases for which adequate control tools are lacking and where addressing this need would have the greatest impact on achieving the sustainable development goals.





Scientific paper




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