Editorial 67th: Coronavirus (the covid 19)
One of the lessons derived from the current pandemic, due to coronavirus, is the need to identify potential biological dangers that nest in wild species that may become food or share domestic spaces with humans.
One of the lessons derived from the current pandemic, due to coronavirus, is the need to identify potential biological dangers that nest in wild species that may become food or share domestic spaces with humans. It may be months, or even years, between the first infection and the detection of the first patients in which the infection spreads and increases. Thus, when we realize about it, the basis for the pandemic are already established.
The slogan “Higia pecoris, salus populi” (Livestock hygiene, people health), used decades ago, referred to the role of veterinarians in preventing the transmission of diseases from animals to people. The interest was such that, as a first step, biological keys books were edited to classify domestic or wild animals that could usually be found in markets. An example is the Biological Keys of Professor Diego Jordano from Córdoba in the 50s of the 20th century.
But, the industrialization of poultry, pig and ruminant production, together with protectionist laws of wilds species, reversed the situation and turned veterinarians into sanitary inspectors of slaughterhouses and markets. This made veterinarians scientific observers, but not technicians, of what was produced on the farm.
In the 21st century the situation has turned 180 degrees. Today tourists and professionals can access remote areas, moving quickly, where wild animals are still used as food. In these remote regions warthogs, gazelles, fruit bats, pangolins, monkeys, snakes, alligators, iguanas, insects and a long catalog of wild animals are still consumed.
The first question is: Who guarantees the hygiene of these foods that can infect native population, visitors and finally citizens of other countries? It seems that the answer is: “Almost nobody” and that also the illegal trade of these “foods” is not slowed down enough.
The second question is: Can preventive control of these essentially viral infections be implemented before they reach the food market? It seems the answer is: “Yes, with professional teams and international investments under the motto “Higia pecoris, salus populi”.
It would be enough to turn veterinarians into scientific observers equipped with technologies that allow classifying wild species, potential carriers, isolate potential pathogens and assess their impact on public health. For this, among others, technologies based on viral cultures on human cell lines and the use of humanized BTL mice (with human blood, thymus and liver cells) could be used.
At Veterinaria Digital we urge individual veterinarians, veterinary organizations and international health organizations to create these field prospecting working groups that catalog potential hazards. This would allow the scientific community to anticipate events, months or years, instead of leaders having to take action in the absence of previous studies as demonstrated in the recent coronavirus pandemic.