Publications IFAH calls for joint efforts to overcome barriers to control emerging and re-emerging diseases

IFAH calls for joint efforts to overcome barriers to control emerging and re-emerging diseases


IFAH report emphasises need for wider collaborative discussions with international stakeholders

London, 5 November 2013 – Today the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) is launching a white paper on Emerging and Re-emerging Animal Diseases – Barriers to Disease Control at a stakeholder event being held at the Royal Society in London. The report concludes that increased investment in education, research, and institutional effectiveness is required at the local, national and global level in order to minimise risks to animal and human health and encourage long-term economic growth. IFAH commissioned global analysis and advisory firm Oxford Analytica, who were supported by a group of independent experts in animal health, to examine three dominant barriers to effective disease control: Barriers to research and development; Barriers to commercialisation; and Barriers to the use of veterinary medicines. These barriers are illustrated through telling case studies on avian influenza, bluetongue, West Nile fever, classical swine fever, equine influenza and the use of antibiotics. Key findings include:

  • Barriers to R&D: high costs to develop medicines and profit margins. Lack of veterinary experts to carry out diagnostic controls creates inefficiencies in responding to an outbreak. Existing surveillance systems tend to be passive or reactive. The constantly changing nature of virus strains hinders vaccines development.
  • Barriers to bringing veterinary medicines to market: overly burdensome regulations, divergent legislative frameworks, lack of streamlined approval processes cause delays and increase costs.
  • Barriers to the use of veterinary medicines: their distribution and availability face logistical problems, lack of government support and lack of veterinary capacity on the ground as well as infrastructure.

Mike McGowan, IFAH’s Acting Executive Director and Programme Chair pointed out that the rapid increase in human population and wealth have resulted in unprecedented demands for livestock products around the world, as well as increased transportation of livestock for trade reasons. As pathogens evolve and mutate, the likelihood of further serious epidemics will grow. This will not only impact animal health, but human health, given that 75% of emerging animal diseases are zoonotic. He commented: “IFAH commissioned this white paper as a launch point for wider collaborative discussions with international stakeholders on what future efforts would be required to overcome barriers that limit our ability to control emerging and re-emerging diseases. Regulatory harmonisation, empowering veterinarians, public-private partnerships and cooperation between the animal and human health sectors are vital to ensure that we can respond to and control disease outbreaks.”

The full report is available for download here

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