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Cutting UK overseas aid could harm the fight against future pandemics | Matthew Baylis and Fiona Tomley

In our age of emerging pathogens, funding for global research into zoonotic diseases such as Covid-19, Ebola and Sars is vital

This year, we’ve seen how a previously unknown animal virus can spill over into the human population in one country, pass rapidly between people, and spread across the world in days. With nearly 1.5m reported deaths from Covid-19, the virus is a startling indication of how the health of the world’s human population is inseparable from animals and the environment that we share with them.

Treating health in a way that recognises these interdependencies is called the One Health approach. Rather than studying human health in isolation, this approach considers how the health of people, animals and the environment are intimately related. Zoonotic diseases that we catch from animals emerge most frequently in places where humans and animals interact closely, while the globalisation of trade and international travel, the intensification of agriculture and ecosystem destruction all contribute to the increased risk of animal pathogens infecting humans. Instead of leaving the job of protecting human health exclusively to medical experts, the One Health approach shares responsibility across veterinary, biological, environmental and social sciences.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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