The experience of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partner scientists in 2015–2016 unmistakably identifies the potential benefits to smallholder farmers and consumers of research into livestock and human health. Smallholder farmers could potentially save hundreds of millions of US dollars annually, following breakthroughs in the development of vaccines for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and Rift Valley fever, the latter posing a serious threat to human as well as animals. However, it was the participation in high-level fora and implementation strategies which are likely to deliver the rapid life changes for smallholder farmers on the ground.
Peter Doherty is today patron of two institutes: the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital researching infectious diseases in humans that became operational in 2014, and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), for whose predecessor, the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD), Doherty served for several years as a board member overseeing the science program.
Discussants at this event unpacked the tensions inherent between developing livestock markets to meet economic goals of the poor and meeting the nutritional needs of poor households raising livestock.
Peter Doherty, an Australian veterinarian surgeon and researcher working in the field of medicine, who with his colleague Rolf Zinkernagel won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1996 and who today serves as a patron of ILRI, also supports the integrated work—and the tearing down of disciplinary silos—that One Health approaches demand.
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?