We Need Federal Action to Prevent the Next Pandemic

Greenland Melting Fastest Any Time in Last 12,000 Years

Greenland is the biggest island in the world. And the ice sheet that sits atop it is massive. "The pile of ice is so thick it extends more than 10,000 feet above the ocean. And if all that ice were to melt...

How the Immune System of Older Adults Like Trump Weakens with Age

President Donald Trump’s announcement that he’s tested positive for COVID-19 is especially concerning because of his age. At 74 years old, Trump is solidly within an age group that’s been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic. People of all ages can get...

COVID Collides with Weather Disasters to Affect Millions Worldwide

A total of 54 million people worldwide faced weather-related disasters this year while dealing with effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released yesterday by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The report by one of...

One in Seven Dire COVID Cases May Result from a Faulty Immune Response

Perhaps the most unnerving aspect of COVID-19 is its startling range of severity: from completely asymptomatic to deadly. Starting early in the pandemic, researchers identified factors that put people at risk of a serious case of the disease, such as advanced...

It is no small task to predict which of the hundreds of thousands of unknown pathogens existing naturally in animals will spill over to people and cause the next pandemic. But one thing is clear: A major factor driving spillover events such as the current COVID-19 pandemic is the trade in live and fresh wildlife for human consumption (whether legal or illegal).

Removing wild animals from nature and transporting them to commercial markets where the close proximity of animals and people poses a significant public health risk is a practice that can no longer be tolerated. Zoonoses—the term for infectious diseases that pass between people and animals—affect millions of people each year, with three quarters of new human pathogens identified in the past three decades originating in animals.

The U.S. government must reengage in its commitment to address zoonotic diseases. While the first Coronavirus Supplemental Funding Package included $435 million for global health programs, zoonotic surveillance was not one of the priority activities. After leading for more than two decades in the establishment of global early warning systems for epidemics, the USG must reestablish its preeminent role.

Our voice is needed more than ever. Habitat destruction, deforestation and the conversion of land for industrial-scale farming and other uses accelerate our ability to take animals from wild places and put wildlife—and the pathogens they contain—in ever more frequent contact with each other and people. Once an animal enters a commercial supply chain, the risks of viral recombination, emergence and transmission increases.

Rigorous enforcement of existing laws, regulations and international treaties that deal with wildlife trade and markets is critical, but will not be enough. Legal and sustainable trade is no protection against virus spillover. Indeed, the preponderance of scientific evidence suggests that the coronavirus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic originated in a wildlife species—most likely a bat.

In more rural and poorer parts of the world, local people frequently rely on wild birds and mammals for food because they have no alternatives. As a global community, we must work to ensure that they gain access to sustainably produced poultry, fish, invertebrates and plants to both meet dietary needs and reduce the risk of exposure to new zoonotic pathogens.

Indigenous peoples use wild animals to feed their families, generate income and to retain their cultural identity. Outreach to raise traditional hunters’ awareness of ways to minimize zoonotic disease transfer will reduce risks to their health and to the general public. The legal and illegal transport to markets of live wildlife leads both to their injury and stress, resulting in the “shedding” of more pathogens in animals’ urine, feces and blood, facilitating mutations and recombinations that render viruses a direct disease threat to people.

If we are to reduce the likelihood of future pandemics like COVID-19, we must adopt a comprehensive approach for which the U.S. government has a critical role to play. Ending the global commercial trade in live and fresh wildlife for human consumption constitutes a major pillar and will require international cooperation with governments, intergovernmental organizations, and communities.

Senators John Cornyn and Cory Booker and Representatives Mike Quigley and Fred Upton introduced bipartisan legislation yesterday that would take several important steps towards closing markets that trade in live terrestrial wildlife, starting with a U.S. ban on the import, export and domestic sale of live wildlife for human consumption. This bill directs the Department of State to work with other nations and international organizations to push for similar bans of markets that trade in live wildlife for human consumption around the world, and would boost efforts to monitor the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases.

The legislation also provides resources to develop appropriate alternative sources of food to help remote communities that rely on hunting wildlife for food security. Prompt passage of this legislation would show U.S. leadership on an issue with which the world continues to struggle

Separately, we must establish both a nonpartisan zoonotic disease interagency task force headed by the president’s national security advisor and a new “One Health” strategy to leverage the public health, wildlife health and livestock veterinary expertise necessary to combat the current and future pandemics.

We need a new paradigm to avoid future pandemics. When we view the hundreds of thousands of unknown pathogens against the human health, global and national security, economic, social and ecological costs of the current pandemic, it is clear that a failure to address the root cause would be grossly negligent.

The U.S. government has an opportunity to lead in avoiding future pandemics. By its very nature, a pandemic is not a one-country problem. Nor is it a one-party problem. The COVID-19 crisis can be a wake-up call for us all to bring balance back to our fractured relationship with nature, or it can be just the latest in a continuing series of global health crises. The choice is ours.

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Popular

A New Kind of Male Sex Toy

The Arcwave Ion, a new sex toy from a company called Wow Tech, promises a different kind of male orgasm. They deliver... kind of. BTW, friends, this review is NSFW. Wow Tech makes the disgustingly-named Womanizer, a popular ladies toy that uses vibration...

Google Fi starts selling 5G phones from Samsung

Google Fi customers have been able to use unlocked Samsung phones on the MVNO’s network for years, but now those same customers can now buy a Samsung Galaxy device directly from the search giant. On the Fi website, the company has...

Waymo rolls out its driverless robo-taxi service in Arizona

Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet, said Thursday that it’s offering its fully driverless robo-taxis to all customers of its ride-hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona. Previously, the company only afforded its fleet of unmanned...

UK announces more than 10,000 new cases for first time

There were 12,872 new cases, while a further 49 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. However, the government said a technical issue meant some cases this week were not recorded at the time so these were included...

Greenland Melting Fastest Any Time in Last 12,000 Years

Greenland is the biggest island in the world. And the ice sheet that sits atop it is massive. "The pile of ice is so thick it extends more than 10,000 feet above the ocean. And if all that ice were to melt...

More from author

A New Kind of Male Sex Toy

The Arcwave Ion, a new sex toy from a company called Wow Tech, promises a different kind of male orgasm. They deliver... kind of. BTW,...

Google Fi starts selling 5G phones from Samsung

Google Fi customers have been able to use unlocked Samsung phones on the MVNO’s network for years, but now those same customers can now...

Waymo rolls out its driverless robo-taxi service in Arizona

Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet, said Thursday that it’s offering its fully driverless robo-taxis to all customers of...

UK announces more than 10,000 new cases for first time

There were 12,872 new cases, while a further 49 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. However, the government said a...