The concept of "One Health" is based on an understanding that the health of humans, animals and the environment are indivisibly linked. The OHP represents an expansion of the National Research Platform for Zoonoses, which has been receiving funding since 2009. Zoonotic infectious diseases are diseases whose pathogens are transferred from animals to humans. Initially, the focus of the new platform will continue to be on infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistances, because these are important overlaps between the human, animal and environmental sectors.
One well-known example of the interplay between humans, animals and the environment is the advance of mosquitoes from warmer regions - a result of climate change - and the associated spread of pathogens. As Stephan Ludwig says, "It is not only ongoing climate change which shows us that environmental influences are playing an increasing role in the occurrence and spread of infectious diseases. A comprehensive consideration of the issue requires a strongly interdisciplinary research community which will now be built up and supported by the One Health Platform."
The specialist disciplines which are to be networked include infection biology, human and veterinary medicine, ecology and environmental sciences, as well as biodiversity and climate research. In order to bring together research and applications, the aim is not only to involve health authorities and veterinary offices in committee work and research projects, but environmental agencies as well. The One Health approach is also to be embedded in university teaching. "Bringing together researchers from a very wide range of fields enables us to take new and unusual multidisciplinary approaches," says Stephan Ludwig. "The One Health Platform’s predecessor - the National Research Platform for Zoonoses - was also very successful In this respect."
The platform - currently still a research platform for zoonoses - brings together more than 1,300 researchers from a variety of disciplines. Besides Münster, there are two other branches - in Greifswald and on the island of Riems. Münster is a member of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s "Advisory Body for Zoonoses along the Food Chain" through Coordinator and Location Manager Prof. Stepha Ludwig and Executive Director Dr. Friederike Jansen.
The members of the Research Platform for Zoonoses meet on October 9 - 11 for the "International Symposium on Zoonoses Research 2023", to be held on Berlin; for the first time, they will be looking at the future orientation of the One Health Platform.