One Health to address future crisis

The entire world is facing complex challenges linked to the rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. Epidemiologists and virologists are in the first line in understanding where the virus originated, how it adapted to a new host (humans) and how it spreads.

Even if to date there is still uncertainty about the exact source, currently available evidence identifies horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus affinis) and pangolins as intermediate host that might have facilitated transfer to humans1 in Wuhan region, followed by a rapid spread across China, Europe and the rest of the world.

 

The possibility that new viruses emerge from wild or domestic animals, is well known (e.g. viruses of HIV, H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza, H1N1 swine flu, Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, etc). The first severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002 showed us the devastating impact coronaviruses can have in term of economic disruptions to affected countries, mortality rate, and possibility of re-emergence2.