“We should take care of the Earth and we should take care of each other.”
At BIO 2017, the first-ever One Health Day introduced the concept of One Health and explained the connectivity between human, animal and environmental health.
On Monday, June 4, 2018, BIO 2018’s One Health Day discussion took a deeper dive into the responsibility we all share for protecting the planet and each other from the physical and economic toll of infectious disease outbreaks.
At the top of the program, a pair of video messages from Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), touched on steps taken at the Federal level through the “Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act of 2018.” The bill, introduced in March of this year, establishes a One Health Program directing multiple federal agencies to study and analyze the health challenges affecting humans, animals and the environment.
“Human and animal health are linked and both are influenced by changes in the environment,” explained Senator Smith. Both Smith and Young pointed to recent outbreaks of avian influenza as one example of the challenges being faced by farmers, but also explained how livestock and animal diseases contribute to human risk.
“Sixty percent of infectious diseases found in humans are spread by animals,” explained Phyllis Arthur, Vice President, Infectious Diseases and Diagnostics Policy at BIO.
The session’s keynote address and panel discussion looked at the ways in which translational science approaches for human, animal and environmental health can help businesses grow and succeed in the future.
A crucial step is understanding which diseases can potentially jump species and looking at prevention mechanisms explained keynote speaker Bernadette Dunham, of the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University. “We also need to look at increased threats to food security,” said Dunham.
Randal J. Kirk, CEO of biotech company Intrexon explained that diseases have been evolving for thousands of years. “But there is something we can do today that we couldn’t do twelve thousand years ago and that is be responsible and be deliberate,” explained Kirk.
The panel agreed that this is where BIO, as an industry group, can be a leader. BIO is unique in that it cuts across the human health, animal health and agriculture space, so the One Health mission is one BIO can take on from multiple fronts. “Just as BIO has been a leader in the vaccine space, BIO is able to be the leader on One Health,” explained Bob McNally, PhD, President and CEO of GeoVax.
Eddie Sullivan, PhD, President and Co-Founder, SAB Biotherapeutics agrees. “BIO’s mission is to Heal, Fuel, and Feed the World. These are all the aspects we consider to be One Health.”
The Day’s second panel, Global Perspectives on One Health, highlighted international government efforts to address global health and security challenges.
Timothy Bouley, Global Health and Environmental Specialist, World Bank discussed the economic dimensions of infectious disease outbreaks and pointed to the new World Bank “One Health Operational Framework.”
As explained in this World Bank blog on the Framework:
“We know that the majority of pathogens infectious to humans are zoonotic―i.e., at one point they spilled over from animals―including the origin of HIV/AIDS before it became a human pandemic. Together zoonoses cause well over a billion human infections and a million deaths per year, plus significant impacts on livestock production, food security, and livelihoods, and often extending to tourism, trade, travel, environmental conservation, education, and more.”
The third panel of the day, USG Funding for One Health Research and Applications, looked at the impacts of on biodefense and biosecurity and how the U.S. government uses the One Health concept to inform its research and funding decisions.
This is a global conversation and we need to bring everyone to the table, explained Dunham. “We can be the ambassadors for One Health. We only have one globe and we should take care of it. And we should take care of each other.”
“There is a great deal of overlap between – not just the causes of diseases – but the cures for diseases.”
BIO’s 2018 One Health Day speakers included:
- Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)
- Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.),
- Phyllis Arthur, Vice President, Infectious Diseases and Diagnostics Policy, BIO
- Amy Walker, Manager, Infectious Diseases Policy, BIO
- Bernadette Dunham, DVM, PhD, Professorial Lecturer, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University
- Randal J. Kirk, CEO, Intrexon
- Kristin Bloink, Senior Director, Global Research and External Innovation, Elanco Animal Health
- Bob McNally, PhD, President and CEO, GeoVax
- Justin Pine, Director, International Affairs, BIO
- Suzan Murray, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
- Jorge Aguado, Vice Minister of Science, Argentina
- Timothy Bouley, MD, Global Health and Environmental Specialist, World Bank
- John Brennan, Secretary General, EuropaBio
- Rick Sibbel, DVM, Ex. Director, Technical Services, US Food Animal Bus Team, Merck Animal Health
- Amanda Pratter, Coordinator, Food & Agriculture, BIO
- Asha George, Executive Director, Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense
- Mark Dertzbaugh, PhD, Civilian Deputy to the Principal Assistant for Research & Technology, U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command
- Roxann Motroni, DVM, PhD, National Program Leader for Animal Health, USDA-ARS
- Eddie Sullivan, PhD, President and Co-Founder, SAB Biotherapeutics
For More Information on One Health, visit these links:
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Exhibit: “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World”
- PBS “Spillover — Zika, Ebola & Beyond”
- BIOtechNOW blog: “One Health: Biotechnology Sector Ready to Act” By Eddie J. Sullivan
- “People, Pathogens and Our Planet”, prepared by the staff of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/ The World Bank