The emergence of COVID-19 could not have been predicted, but it was not unexpected. According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), 60% of human infectious diseases are of animal origin, 3 new diseases of animal origin appear annually and 20% of animal losses are due to infectious diseases. Despite huge advances against infectious diseases, human, animal, and environmental health continues to be threatened by emerging and neglected pathogens, environmental pollution, and development of multifactorial, chronic diseases. Future improvements in containment of infectious diseases will require better knowledge of causes and consequences and development of novel diagnostics and therapies.
The composition of the microbiome and its function have huge impacts on human, animal and ecosystem health by influencing immunologic responsiveness and risks for a multitude of chronic inflammatory diseases, e.g. asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and allergies. Understanding the role of the microbiome and its dynamic interactions with hosts, pathogens and the external environment will play a key role in enabling the engineering of new diagnostic techniques and interventions. A better understanding of how non-pathogenic microbial transfer and microbiome interactions among humans, animals and their shared environment could lead to innovative interventions.
Using a One Health approach, transdisciplinary research teams will generate new understandings of the pathogen, microbiome, host, environmental, and social determinants that underlie the development of infectious and immune disease across species and ecosystems.