One Health is defined by the One Health Commission as:
“One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach – working at local, regional, national, and global levels – to achieve optimal health and well-being outcomes recognizing the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment”
In 2020, Edinburgh hosted the 6th World One Health Congress , albeit that it ended up being hosted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AAA sector is working together to ensure industry is adopting technology in the context of One Health through focussing on:
- Skills, training and deployment of digital/data
- The development of IoT and AI technologies
- Research and Development into zoonotic diseases
Find out more about the work of the Animal Health, Agritech and Aquaculture workstream by Connecting to The ILG.
Working in Partnership to respond to Zoonotic Diseases
Given 60% of existing human diseases are zoonotic, including not least COVID-19, Scotland is well placed to respond to the next pandemic due to the world-leading research in animal science and health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moredun Research Institute answered the call to increasing molecular (PCR) testing capacity for human samples.
There is much greater awareness of the parallels between human and animal health than ever before. The R-number (R0), familiar to those studying the spread of diseases within populations – such as EPIC, the Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks – is now quoted in the news on a daily basis and we regularly hear estimates of the number of people who need to be vaccinated to achieve ‘herd immunity’.
There is so much to learn by the translation of different technologies across sectors. Examples include SRUC’s use of environmental sensors to improve the design of accommodation for livestock and monitor the outdoor environment in hill farms. Several Scottish companies are working on wearable devices for livestock to improve animal health, welfare and productivity and they can draw on the experiences of companies who have created similar ‘FitBit’-type devices for people.
Analysis of datasets generated by digital devices or through disease surveillance and investigation to establish patterns can be very interesting. However, by combining the power of data analytics with knowledge and expertise in health management – whether for plants, farm animals, fish or, indeed, people – we can then create powerful tools to predict novel health challenges and manage them.