Links Between COVID-19 Related Needs of Stakeholders and One Health EJP Activities
Response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic imposed itself as an impelling priority, shifting many activities of public health organisations from planned tasks to response actions. Given the scale of the pandemic, animal health organisations have joined forces with public health organisations to contribute to human diagnostics.
As crucial as public health measures and diagnostics are, it is clear that more research is needed to understand and contain the spread of this pandemic, and to prevent similar ones in the future. Given the zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2, the application of a One Health approach is essential. Research priorities and knowledge gaps have been summarised by the WHO in R&D Blueprint coordinated Global Research Roadmap, by the OIE in the outcomes of the OIE ad hoc Group on COVID-19 and the human-animal interface, and by ECDC in their rapid risk assessments.
The One Health EJP pursues cross-sectoral and international collaboration and research and advocates a One Health approach and the “prevent-detect-response” concept. As a landmark partnership between 37 acclaimed food, veterinary and public health laboratories and institutes across Europe, it is in the perfect position to provide a major contribution to COVID-19 response and research. Moreover, as all the partner organisations have mandates from their national ministries or regional authorities, the consortium is in a privileged position when it comes to feeding back its outcomes to national and European risk assessors, risk managers and policy makers.
Emerging threats are a focus of the One Health EJP, and partner organisations reacted timely to the emergency: public health organisations were at the frontline, and animal health organisations rapidly followed to support large scale human diagnosis. Several projects of the One Health EJP (METASTAVA, Tele-VIR and MAD-Vir) focus on viruses, in particular on detection of novel emerging virus threats.
Given the vast number of European and international research projects currently being initiated on the topic of SARS-CoV-2, the One Health EJP recognises the importance of aligning its activities to European and international guidelines. To minimise the risk of duplication of efforts and maximise added value, alignment of One Health EJP activities to international guidelines is summarised and confirmed by this document.
The full document can be downloaded here and displays European and international priorities (general recommendations, and specific research needs and knowledge gaps) identified by scanning published documents of ECDC, EFSA, FAO, OIE and WHO, and how they are addressed in activities of the One Health EJP.