With global heads of state meeting civil society representatives and UN agencies in Paris to discuss climate change at the COP21 event (30 November – 11 December), the animal health industry in Europe highlights the impact of climate change on animal disease and the need for innovation in veterinary medicines.
“With temperatures becoming more clement across the continent we are seeing incidences of animal diseases in Europe that were not previously reported such as the introduction of Schmallenberg virus in 2011 from Africa or the threat of Rift Valley Fever moving into Europe. Climate change and activity such as the creation of wetlands to offset impacts may increase the presence of vectors such as ticks, mosquitoes and fleas, increasing the threat of transmissible diseases”, said Roxane Feller, IFAH-Europe Secretary General.
Many vector-borne diseases1 currently lack effective medicines for treatment and prevention. Vaccination has the potential to be one of the most effective methods in dealing with these diseases, but investment in this area is often constrained by the huge costs and resources needed for research which is currently not offered adequate data protection.
Animal health companies are dedicated to bringing new veterinary medicines to market, a highly costly process (up to €129 million) that can take between 5 to 11 years to complete. IFAH-Europe calls for incentives for companies to expand the range of medicines available and to develop innovative solutions for animal disease prevention and treatment.
Climate change affects us all, and it may lead to Europe seeing more diseases - new to both us and our animals - than ever before. We need innovation and vaccine banks to be ready to deal with these.
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1 - Vector-borne diseases are infections transmitted by the bite of infected insect species, such as mosquitoes, ticks, triatomine bugs, sandflies, and blackflies. They are cold-blooded and thus especially sensitive to climatic factors.