Biothreat & One Health: Current scenario & way forward.
There is an increased connectedness among humans, animals, and the environment and the current pandemic has taught the interlinking of the health of humans, animals and the planet. This inter-connectedness and factors like population growth, migration, urbanization, and climate change contribute significantly to the enhanced probability of emergence of previously unknown wildlife source pathogens at any place, any time, and without warning. Lurking in the background is the massive potential for the deliberate use of biological agents as weapons by State or non-State entities. Biological weapons have been used in wars since antiquity, however, newer research and techniques have led to these being real threats with a vast potential of harm to humans, animals, and crops. Over a period, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between deliberate and natural biothreat incidents. The response to both types is alike to safeguard lives, livestock, crops and the environment and reduce the consequent socio-economic ramifications. Biothreat may be targeted towards humans, animals, or crops, or all these concurrently. Every country including India is at risk of biothreat. The concept of one health is thus essential for responding to emerging infectious diseases or biothreats. Comprehensive surveillance for early detection, reporting and early concerted action is needed for prevention and blunting the effect of biothreats, which require close coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders within each country as well as globally.
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