Synopsis: India can turn into a hotspot for zoonotic diseases (diseases that spread from animal to human), if not controlled now. Research must be proactive as this could be a larger crisis than the COVID pandemic.
During the covid-19 pandemic, Scientists developed tools to study the virus more effectively. Further, they also set up channels to test the efficacy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs. But the challenges of Zoonotic diseases still exist.
Vulnerability of India to Zoonotic diseases:
Global meta-analyses mention that Zoonotic diseases are likely to emerge in areas with many mammal species. As per the analysis, high land use and land cover change, and high human population density are the reasons for zoonotic diseases.
- According to Global meta-analyses, India can be a hotspot for the possible emergence of zoonotic diseases in the world.
- India’s approach to addressing zoonotic diseases has mainly been reactive. This is evident as the research and public health intervention usually begin when there is an outbreak.
Challenges in controlling Zoonotic diseases?
There are several scientific challenges that exist in zoonotic diseases. They are,
- One cannot predict the zoonotic disease pandemic. This is evident from the recent Covid pandemic.
- It is hard to collect viral and bacterial samples from biodiversity. Collecting samples is nearly impossible from wild reservoirs like bats and rodents.
- It is impossible to monitor and control biodiversity hotspots. Further, the government cannot detect the transmission of the pathogen from one hot spot to another.
- Moreover, it is difficult to predict the evolutions of pathogens and their relation with the hosts (animals). It is also evident in the COVID pandemic.
Scientists have to conduct interdisciplinary research and sustained efforts to reduce challenges. So, Scientists from various domains have to come forward and work for a common cause just like they did for covid testing and vaccinations.