November Update from Humanimal Trust

As the days get shorter, the nights draw in and with many of us being in the midst of Covid-19 related restrictions, November provided us with a number of opportunities for reflection. Remembrance Sunday provided a time to reflect, respect and remember those who gave their lives to protect the freedom we have today. Humans and animals have shared times of conflict, often serving side by side. In these current uncertain and unprecedented times, we need the medical and veterinary professions, as well as the allied health and scientific disciplines, to stand side by side with each other to address the impacts that COVID-19 is having, both directly and indirectly on the many healthcare challenges that both humans and animals face.

The 3rd of November marked One Health Day. Humanimal Trust attended the 6th World One Health Congress, which was held virtually this year. There was a wide range of fascinating and interesting talks from a series of inspiring and fantastic speakers. The major themes we heard from this Congress were the need for disciplines to collaborate, form partnerships and that we can all work together because we are all in this together. They were messages that we wholeheartedly agree with, as they have been the central message of One Medicine for many decades and lie at the heart of what Humanimal Trust does.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on health and our economy but it has also highlighted the strength of what can be achieved when we act as one community and work together instead of working apart. This pandemic will have far reaching consequences for many years to come and now, more than ever, we need to stand side by side and unite as one. For many health challenges faced by humans and animals, there is no single answer and they can’t be solved by solely looking at humans or animals. We know that vets have considerable expertise and experience in dealing with infectious diseases and knowledge of coronaviruses. We know that human medicine has made significant advances in the treatment of diseases such as cancer. However, these benefits are not reciprocal and knowledge gaps still exist, but these gaps could be narrowed significantly if the medical, veterinary and allied health/scientific disciplines come together and share their knowledge. The sharing of this knowledge could help us to make significant advances and lead to sustainable medical progress which will benefit both humans and animals alike. This is the ethos of One Medicine. This is what Humanimal Trust is committed and dedicated to.

The research work that Humanimal Trust funds focuses on work that could enable early detection and early intervention of diseases such as cancer and infectious diseases. We also afford an opportunity to provide a crucial stepping stone to shape and support the early careers and beyond of student medical, veterinary and allied research professionals who believe in a One Medicine approach. Also, to enable us to provide a powerful evidence base to not only the medical, veterinary and scientific communities but also policy makers. During the One Health Congress, we heard a fantastic talk from Dr Lucy Rhys-Davies (University of Surrey) on how we may be able to harness the killing ability of bacterial viruses as an alternative to antibiotics. The donations we receive from our supporters enable us to fund such research, and allow us to invest in the next generation of One Medicine researchers. We cannot make this investment, nor be able to shape the future of medicine for humans and animals, without you and we are truly grateful to you for your ongoing support, especially in these unprecedented times.

Lucy’s paper on phage therapy as published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science can be found here. This work was funded by Humanimal Trust.