Acting before the next pandemic: International expert panel One Health starts work : FLI Press release 05/2021
Insel Riems, 28. May 2021. The President of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI), Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Thomas C. Mettenleiter, and Prof. Dr. Wanda Markotter, Head of the Centre for Viral Zoonoses at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, were appointed as the founding Co-chairs of the new international One Health expert panel. The One Health High Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) of 26 members was officially launched on 20 May. The World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had called for applications for the panel. It will provide scientific advice to the four partner organisations at the interface of human, animal and environmental health. The focus is on the interactions between humans, animals and ecosystems and the early recognition of future threats to health. In addition, factors that influence the spread of pathogens from animals to humans are to be identified. The goal is to develop a global agenda to reduce the risk of pandemics. 'The COVID-19 pandemic has once again highlighted how closely linked human, animal and environmental health is and therefore the importance of the 'One Health' approach to global health. This realisation led to the creation of the OHHLEP as a central expert and advisory body, ' says biologist and virologist Thomas C. Mettenleiter.