Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology on October 14, 2021, virtually launched India’s first ‘One Health Consortium.
About One Health consortium
- This programme envisages carrying out surveillance of important bacterial, viral and parasitic infections of zoonotic and transboundary pathogens in India.
- Use of existing diagnostic tests and the development of additional methodologies when required are mandated for the surveillance and for understanding the spread of emerging diseases.
- This Consortium, consisting of 27 organisations led by DBT-National Institute of Animal Biotechnology, Hyderabad, is one of the biggest one health programs launched by Govt of India in post-COVID times.
- The One health consortium consists of AIIMS, Delhi, AIIMS Jodhpur, IVRI, Bareilly, GADVASU, Ludhiana, TANUVAS, Chennai, MAFSU, Nagpur, Assam agricultural and veterinary university and many more ICAR, ICMR centres and wildlife agencies.
- COVID-19 pandemic showed the relevance of ‘One Health’ principles in the governance of infectious diseases, especially efforts to prevent and contain zoonotic diseases throughout the world.
- Sensing this urgent need, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has supported a mega consortium on ‘One Health’.
Why ‘One Health’ Consortium is significant at present times?
The need for the ‘One Heath’ Consortium has increased at the time. The risk of the infectious agents capable of jumping the barriers of species has increased. Such diseases also have devastating impacts on humans, animals, health systems, and economies, requiring years of social and economic recovery.
Sensing the urgent need, the Department of Biotechnology supported a mega consortium on ‘One Health’.
Holistic approach to understand zoonotic diseases
Dr. Renu Swarup, while noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the relevance of ‘One Health’ principles in the governance of infectious diseases, particularly the efforts to prevent and contain zoonotic diseases throughout the world, emphasized a holistic approach in order to understand the health of humans, wildlife and animals to minimize the damage caused by the future pandemics.
What is one Health Concept?
- One Health is an approach that recognizes that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment.
- One Health is not new, but it has become more important in recent years. This is because many factors have changed interactions between people, animals, plants, and our environment.
- Human populations are growing and expanding into new geographic areas. As a result, more people live in close contact with wild and domestic animals, both livestock and pets.
- Animals play an important role in our lives, whether for food, fiber, livelihoods, travel, sport, education, or companionship. Close contact with animals and their environments provides more opportunities for diseases to pass between animals and people.
- The earth has experienced changes in climate and land use, such as deforestation and intensive farming practices. Disruptions in environmental conditions and habitats can provide new opportunities for diseases to pass to animals.
- The movement of people, animals, and animal products has increased from international travel and trade. As a result, diseases can spread quickly across borders and around the globe.
- These changes have led to the spread of existing or known (endemic) and new or emerging zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can spread between animals and people.
- Examples of zoonotic diseases include: Rabies, Salmonella infection, West Nile virus infection, Q Fever (Coxiella burnetii), Anthrax, Brucellosis, Lyme disease, Ringworm, Ebola.
National Institute of Animal Biotechnology(NIAB), Hyderabad-
- It is an Indian autonomous research establishment of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
- NIAB is aimed to harness novel and emerging biotechnologies and take up research in the cutting edge areas for improving animal health and productivity.
- The Institute’s focus of research is on Animal Genetics and Genomics, Transgenic Technology, Reproductive Biotechnology, Infectious Diseases, Bioinformatics and Nutrition Enrichment.
- It aims at translational research leading to the development of novel vaccines, diagnostics and improved therapeutic molecules for farm animals.
It promotes bio entrepreneurship by providing a support environment for commercial tenants involved in the development of farm animal based products.