DEAR READERS: The coronavirus is capable of mutation to increase infectivity and multiplication -- currently in the human species, but I fear that other species exposed to infected humans may be next.
Giving the public hope in the animal-tested vaccinations now being developed around the world may be to little avail, considering how this virus can mutate into a new strain or variant, causing a different set of health problems. I am not opposed to the judicious and appropriate use of vaccines in humans and other animals, but vaccination limitations are a documented problem with the influenza virus, and some vaccine formulations will not provide adequate protection. Also, some vaccinations can cause increased susceptibility to other viral infections. More effective testing, quarantining (where indicated), social distancing and personal hygiene vigilance are the best preventives.
While the jury is still out as to the origin of SARS-CoV-2, other coronavirus infections in humans have been traced back to some wild animal species, along with other contagious viruses also originating from farmed animals (pigs and poultry). The obvious preventive steps include addressing the human-animal zoonotic interface, and drastically reducing wild and domestic animal exploitation and consumption, both at home and abroad.
DEAR DR. FOX: The One Health Initiative team has posted your commentary about the COVID-19 nightmare, and the urgent need to institute a One Health approach and principles -- to this current crisis, and to many other global public health, comparative medicine and environmental issues, now and in the future. We greatly appreciate your visionary support and advocacy for One Health!
The One Health Initiative autonomous pro bono team was originally established in 2006, and the group’s website (onehealthinitiative.com) has been called “the international clearinghouse for significant One Health information.” It is currently estimated to be accessed each month by thousands of individual visitors from about 150 countries.
Please keep up your longstanding, excellent humanitarian animal welfare efforts. -- Bruce Kaplan, DVM, Dipl. AVES (Hon.); Contents Manager/Editor, One Health Initiative Website; Co-Founder, One Health Initiative; Sarasota, Florida
DEAR DR. KAPLAN: Your words of support for my efforts to inform the public about the importance of a One Health approach are appreciated. The evident lack of any veterinary representation in an advisory capacity in the White House task force is regrettable. This pandemic is certainly a major global crisis, medically and economically, and as Winston Churchill is said to have quipped during the Second World War, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” An interdisciplinary, One Health approach is indeed called for to facilitate preventive measures for this and future epidemics and pandemics of animal origin, rather than relying on ever-more vaccinations and drugs to treat people, which are costly and not without risk.
I applaud the good work that you and your associates have been doing to expand the concept of health and preventive medicine, which has been too long limited by the anthropocentrism of conventional medicine. I am sending you my latest review of the coronavirus pandemic and my article on the limitations of conventional medicine.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)