International network created to tackle the risk of livestock diseases spreading to people


27 March 2019 11:29
meeting in the Philippines

More than fifty researchers, academics, government representatives and policy makers have met in the Philippines to identify and formulate mitigation plans against livestock diseases which have the potential to infect people.

The meeting was led by Biomedical and Life Sciences, Lancaster University, UK and the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Philippines.

Dr Munir Muhammad of Lancaster University’s Faculty of Health and Medicine said the event had been a great success.

“This networking activity led to the establishment of several collaborations between early career and established researchers from both the UK and the Philippines. These established links will provide foundations in mutually tackling infectious diseases in livestock and human in the near future.”

Livestock production is one of the fastest growing sectors of the food industry and contributes significantly to meet global demands and food security.

One of the major challenges for the sustainable growth of this sector comes from the plethora of diseases, including viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases, which have devastating effects on productivity.

It has been estimated that more than 60% of current infections in humans originate from animals, highlighting the importance of disease control strategies for both human and animal wellbeing. Because of the global nature of these diseases, it is of vital importance to work collaboratively to generate effective mitigation opportunities via innovative strategies.

During these workshops, researchers discussed the major challenges and research advances in the control of livestock diseases. They highlighted how the co-operative efforts of researchers from both the UK and the Philippines could potentially tackle these challenges.

In separate interactive sessions, delegates actively debated the challenges, priorities, and opportunities for academia in driving livestock disease research, the importance of developing improved disease measures by industry, livestock disease impacts on humans and the contribution by the farming sector in developing countries. Organisers focused on forging long-term research partnerships between early-career researchers, livestock industry and national disease control authorities in the UK and the Philippines.

As a result, a network of scientists, and vaccine and diagnostic specialists covering major areas of animal and human diseases was established that will identify major research gaps and funding opportunities related to vaccines and diagnostics in both countries..

This activity was supported by a grant from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippines and delivered by the British Council.