Animal Disease Research Same as Human
Many of the necessities involved in the current Covid-19 pandemic overlap to the response we’ll need should the US experience an animal disease outbreak.
Colorado State University Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph says that agricultural research allows us to be better prepared for a potential outbreak of African Swine Fever, for example.
Rudolph: “Fortunately the US hasn't’ had African Swine Fever. The kind of diagnostics we’re talking about where people have need to be tested asymptomatically and screened in surveillance to prevent the spread of the disease - if we had had that in the Covid outbreak we would have been more prepared to respond. The point is the same correlative technology or needs are in the animal space. We call them point of care diagnostics in the human world. They are pen side diagnostics in the agricultural sector. We need to know from livestock sooner if they are exposed to a virus that could eventually lead to a considerable loss in the commodities sector like African Swine Fever or Bovine TB. The same expertise, the same technology, many of the same vaccine platforms and the use of PPEs.”
Dr Rudolph served as the head of the Chemical Bio Defense Program at the Office of Homeland Security and the nation’s early response to African Swine Fever. He says CSU has a long history of infectious disease research. One study underway involves the use of alpacas to determine if they can produce stable antibodies against disease.
Last November (2019), CSU hosted the national Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense. The members convened to assess the biological threat, specific vulnerabilities, and consequences of an animal outbreak to agricultural producers.