“Avian influenza is dangerous for poultry. There could be different variants going around. If the virus adapts and manages to infect people, who could then subsequently transmit the virus, then we would be facing a public health problem.”
The speaker is Wim van der Poel. He has worked in zoonoses-related research for over 20 years. At Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, he has set up a laboratory pipeline to identify and characterise new emerging zoonoses at an early stage. He is of the opinion that zoonoses should be tackled according to a “One Health” approach. This means all health-related research disciplines – human and veterinary – working together to manage zoonoses effectively. Wim is one of the guests at the debate evening in the Rode Hoed. The topic of this session will be zoonoses.
Corona and zoonose
Regarding the coronavirus, Van der Poel says: “I hope that we can take a step towards a quicker detection of pathogens. What is happening with the coronavirus, all those variants that are developing, how can we spot them sooner? Another factor: animal species are also becoming increasingly susceptible to the coronavirus. There is a newly published study about infected deer in the USA. You also need to respond to that. We want to get rid of the virus. That will not be possible if increasing numbers of animals in our environment are infected or could be infected.”
Van de Poel is a guest in the second edition of the trilogy Humans and Animals in the Rode Hoed in Amsterdam on Tuesday 7 December. Wageningen University & Research and the debate centre are organising three debate evenings with the theme of Humans and Animals.
Antoinette Tijssen, communication manager of the Animal Sciences Group, is involved with the collaboration for the debates: “Science is not an island; it is shaped by interaction with society. At WUR, we conduct a lot of research into animal welfare and into new enclosure systems in which animals can display their natural behaviour as these are important themes in society. WUR scientists believe that it is important that we remain continually connected to the different voices, ideas, and perspectives in society."
Thijssen continues: “The first evening of the Humans and Animals theme in the Rode Hoed clearly demonstrated how the opinions about dealing with animals are shifting in society. It also raised new questions and dilemmas for scientists. Exploring these questions and dilemmas together with an interested and involved audience is fantastic.”