Increasing globalization, climate change, increased human mobility, intensified animal husbandry, increasing urbanization, and the loss of natural habitats, are the main causes of the outbreak and rapid spread of infections. The extent to which this development can take place was clearly demonstrated, for example, by the Corona pandemic in recent years. Pathogens spread globally, cross species boundaries and often develop multiple resistances. Human, animal, and ecosystem health are interconnected in complex ways, and isolated approaches are no longer sufficient to understand the origins of disease and develop effective preventive measures. Instead, to address these multifaceted problems, integrative transdisciplinary approaches are needed that focus on the health of humans and animals in their environment as part of a unifying One Health approach.
To meet this challenge, the National Platform for Zoonoses will be further developed into a "One Health Platform" as of December 1, 2023. This coordinating, dynamic structure will drive the implementation and support of the One Health approach in research, link national and international funding initiatives, and promote and coordinate inter- and transdisciplinary research activities. The National Platform for Zoonoses with more than 1,300 registered scientists, forms the ideal basis for the development of the One Health Platform.
The Helmholtz Institute for One Health (HIOH) in Greifswald, under the direction of Prof. Fabian Leendertz, is responsible for the internationalization and expansion of the research network in the areas of environmental and climate research. The HIOH is a site of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig. The goals of the extended platform are achieved through various mechanisms, including interdisciplinary workshops with international participants, project funding across disciplinary boundaries, and active promotion of young researchers. Special focus areas such as environmental issues and international collaboration will be addressed through targeted events and travel grants.
The launch of the One Health Platform marks a significant step towards collaboration among experts from different disciplines and countries and will help to effectively address the challenges related to human, animal and environmental health.