UN bodies to set up One Health panel to prevent zoonotic diseases


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The World Health Organization (WHO) on May 26, 2021, announced that WHO along with three other international bodies has put together a team of experts to launch a new One Health High-Level Expert Panel to formulate a global plan for the prevention of the spread of diseases from animals to humans.

The coronavirus pandemic that started in 2019 is believed to be originated from the wildlife trading networks in China and Southeast Asia. Bats have been zeroed in with the closest genetic match of SARS-Cov-2.

Wildlife is the originating source of around three-quarters of infectious diseases in the world, as per WHO.

What is One Health High-Level Expert Panel?

•The One Health High-Level Expert Panel is a team of experts put together by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

•The One Health High-Level Expert Panel initiative was launched by Germany and France in 2020. The first meeting of the panel was held in May 2021.

Role of One Health High-Level Expert Panel

•The One Health panel will advise the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on establishing good practices to prepare and prevent zoonotic diseases and developing surveillance networks and risk assessment about infectious diseases originating from animals.

•The One Health High-Level Expert Panel will formulate a global plan of action for the prevention of the spread of diseases from animals to humans. The global plan of action will aim at preventing outbreaks of diseases like Zika, MERS, Ebola, COVID-19, etc.

•The panel will focus on areas relating to urbanization and infrastructure development, food production and distribution, international travel and trade, activities causing climate change and biodiversity loss, and activities that can fuel the emergence of zoonotic diseases.

What are Zoonotic diseases?

•The World Health Organization defines Zoonotic diseases, also known as zoonoses, as infectious diseases that jump from animals to humans. The zoonotic carriers may be viral, bacterial, or parasitic that spread through direct contact or food, air, water, etc.

•Zoonotic diseases pose a major health threat due to our close connection with animals, in various ways such as consumption, agriculture, trade, etc.

•Ebola, COVID-19, are some examples of zoonotic diseases that can turn into global pandemics.



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