Lessons from covid-19: the action plan towards One Health approaches finally detailed

Like 75% of emerging diseases, covid-19 is likely a zoonosis, a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans. To deal with these health risks, scientists have for years developed global approaches to health, based on the interconnections and balances in human health, animal health and ecosystem health.

In an article just published in The Lancetthe members of the Scientific Council detail the actions to be put in place to make these “One Health” approaches a reality at all stages of a pandemic crisis.

International ambition and long-term national strategies

More than a simple concept, “One Health” is a strategy that has long been used in research and monitoring in many zoonoses projects. “, underline the authors. A strategy now enshrined by the United Nations through the creation in May 2021 of a panel of high-level experts, the ” One Health High Level Expert Group (OHHLEP).

Despite this institutional recognition, policy actions and practice are still lagging behind, especially at the national level, say the scientists. Currently, the sharing of epidemiological data is based on short-lived regional programs largely concentrated in the North. Far from being effective, these programs would benefit from being replaced by long-term research projects and initiatives and integrated into national plans all over the world. At the national level, the challenge is the real rapprochement and the strengthening of collaborative actions and projects between the different bodies (agencies at national and regional level, research organizations, reference laboratories, hospitals, etc.) dealing with human health issues. , animal health or the environment.

These ambitious strategies become important investments and effective exchanges between local, national and international.

Resilient and adapted lifestyles: the role of agriculture

Beyond surveillance systems at different scales, scientists also recommend actions to prevent epidemic outbreaks. Among these, the weight of the agricultural sector is essential because of its close links with the health of ecosystems, biodiversity and even animal and human food.

Thierry Lefrançois, first author of the article, is a specialist in networks and integrated approaches to health at CIRAD and was a member of the French Scientific Council on covid-19 until its dissolution at the end of July 2022 with the end of the state of health. ’emergency. For this trained veterinarian, the links between biodiversity, agriculture, food and health incorporate another major element: climate change. ” Several studies” A health demonstrated the connections between climate change, biodiversity crises and the emergence of zoonoseschallenges the researcher. In the name of health risks, we have no choice but to tackle the health, climate and biodiversity crises head-on. This calls in particular for a rapprochement between the Conferences of the Parties, the Climate COP and the Biodiversity COP and between its COPs and the international organizations working on One Health (WHO, OMSA, FAO, UNEP) “.

Bruno Lina, last author of the article, virologist responsible for the CNR of respiratory infection viruses at the Hospices Civils de Lyon and researcher at the International Center for Research in Infectiology in Lyon, insists: “ Only an integrated and cross-sectoral approach supported in the long term by public decision-makers will make it possible to fight effectively against the health risk by implementing measures to prevent and control the emergence, and by structuring the response to crises. “.

The Committee for Monitoring and Anticipation of Health Risks (COVARS), which succeeded the Scientific Council strictly dedicated to the covid crisis, resolutely adopted a “One Health” / “One Health” approach by now changing all health risks. infectious agents affecting humans and animals, environmental and food pollutants, and climate change. Its recent installation confirms the French government’s desire to decompartmentalize animal health, human health and the environment. Three of the co-authors of this publication (Thierry Lefrançois, Bruno Lina and Denis Malvy) are part of this committee run by Brigitte Autran.

*Virpath team (University of Lyon, Inserm, U1111, UCBL, CNRS, UMR5308, ENS de Lyon)


Thierry Lefrançois, Denis Malvy, Laetitia Atlani-Duault, Daniel Benamouzig, Pierre-Louis Druais, Yazdan Yazdanpanah, Jean-François Delfraissy, Bruno Lina. After two years of the pandemic, there is an urgent need to translate One Health into action. The Lancet.

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