Investing in the One Health Approach
InfectControl at the World Health Summit - A summary
(Article in English)
From October 25 to 27, 2020, scientists, politicians and decision-makers from all over the world met to discuss current challenges in the field of health. Of course, Corona was the leading topic - not least because the conference had to be completely digital.
InfectControl was launched long before SARS-CoV-2 in order to develop global strategies for dealing with infectious diseases that take a holistic view of the problem from many different perspectives. The current situation clearly shows how urgently this is needed.
On October 26, 2020, InfectControl members reported on their experiences in interdisciplinary infection control in a separate session at the World Health Summit. Nearly 150 participants from 18 different countries took part in the session.
Science and economy - a close alliance
InfectControl is a well-established interdisciplinary Germany-wide network putting the theoretical One Health approach into reality. To this end, experts from a wide range of disciplines are working together to prevent infections at an early stage, diagnose them quickly and reliably and treat them sustainably.
Companies are also involved in a large number of projects to put the theoretical knowledge gained in the laboratory into practice. In his presentation, Dr. Peter Schmid of Ceva Santé Animale, for example, emphasised the importance of public-private partnerships, for example in the field of vaccine research. For example, basic studies for vaccine candidates and also for other active compounds can already be carried out in academic science. With a "proof of concept" status and convincing data, they will then become more interesting for further development by industry.
Dr. Wolfgang Sunder from the TU Braunschweig further demonstrated the importance of cooperation. In his part of the session, he presented the patient room of the future, which was created through interdisciplinary collaboration in InfectControl: For the first time, researchers from the fields of architecture, medicine and molecular biology joined forces with corporate partners to build a prototype for a new type of patient room. It is intended to prevent infections in hospitals in the future and thus makes an important contribution to infection prevention.
Effective prevention measures
Prof. Lothar Wieler, President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), also emphasized the importance of infection prevention, especially in hospitals, in his contribution. He said that the corona pandemic reminds us in particular of the importance of this early-stage prevention. Prof. Wieler presented a mobile isolation tent that was developed within the framework of InfectControl. It can be set up within a few minutes. The RKI director also presented a vaccination campaign aimed at the target group over 60 years of age. Prof. Wieler concluded by stating that the research association InfectControl brings important results from science into application and thus offers great added value in the fight against infectious diseases.
Prof. Petra Gastmeier from Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin presented prevention and education measures to the audience, which are intended to reduce the advancing development of antibiotic resistance. It is important to take into account the different needs of very diverse target groups in order to be able to directly start the communication. InfectControl therefore developed information materials and training courses for patients as well as for doctors and farmers.
The connection between humans, animals and the environment
Prof. Mettenleiter, Director of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute - Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, made clear in his speech once again that the health of humans, animals and the environment are directly linked. He therefore presented a project that is developing new vaccines against pathogens that both infect many people and cause great harm in agriculture.
Prof. Oliver Kurzai from the University Hospital of Würzburg also clearly pointed out in his lecture on fungal diseases the threat posed to human health by the development of resistance of human-pathogenic fungi in the environment.