A first look at a revamped ILRI research program: Animal and Human Health
A useful summary of the future plans of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), based in Washington, DC, has been published. Two of the five flagships of this multi-institutional research program are led or co-led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Nairobi, Kenya. Future work of these two flagships is described below.
As the world becomes more well, people — particularly people in the West — seem to be more worried about health and disease, especially about the possibility of global pandemics (that is, widespread outbreaks) of newly emerging infectious diseases. Are these first-world fears? Or is there good reason why everyone should be concerned about coming plagues? And, if so, what should we be doing differently to protect ourselves better from newly emerging diseases?
Tremendous research progress has been made over the last ten years to better control the deadly African disease of cattle known as East Coast fever. This disease is caused by a single-celled organism, Theileria parva, which is carried by some tick species. Cattle become infected when a tick carrying the parasite takes a blood-meal from the animal over several days.
Today and tomorrow (31 May–1 Jun 2016), Chatham House, the Livestock Global Alliance (LGA), the One Health Platform and other One Health partners are convening senior policymakers, academics, multilateral development agencies, business leaders and other private-sector stakeholders to discuss livestock’s role in poverty reduction, sustainable livestock production systems, innovations in livestock vaccines and diagnostics and the value of establishing national and regional One Health centres to provide advice on links among agriculture, sustainable livestock systems and human development.
Diseases transmitted between animals and people—which cause 60% of all human infectious diseases—are a ‘frontier issue’ at the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA2), being held this week and next at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in Nairobi, Kenya.
Twenty organizations, including ILRI, made up the Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium, which from 2012 to 2015 coordinated research exploring the relations among African ecosystems and zoonotic diseases—those transmitted between animals and people—that impinge on ecosystem, human and animal wellbeing.