After COVID-19, Kuwait explores ways to enhance response to zoonotic diseases

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) organized a meeting to discuss the preparations and capabilities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to respond to threats of zoonotic diseases. “This meeting is a vital step towards coordinating efforts and strengthening capacities to address these diseases, which pose significant threats to human health and global economies,” IAEA’s national liaison officer Dr Nader Al-Awadhi said in a press release on Monday.

Dr Nader Al-Awadhi

More than 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic diseases, meaning that they have jumped from animals to humans, added Awadhi. Zoonotic pathogens may be bacterial, viral or parasitic, or may involve unconventional agents and can spread to humans through direct contact or through food, water or the environment. “We need scientific and practical infrastructure for cooperation in the Gulf region to confront these diseases, whether endemic such as brucellosis, or emerging diseases such as SARS and Corona, or re-emerging such as tuberculosis and rabies,” he said.

Dr Abdulaziz Al-Ateeqi

Dr Abdulaziz Al-Ateeqi, a veterinarian at the Environment and Life Sciences Research Center at the KISR and the national coordinator of the IAEA’s Integrated Action for Common Animal Diseases (ZODIAC) initiative, said that the meeting aims to exchange knowledge and plan for a future where we have a stronger, faster and more effective response to such threats. Ateeqi pointed out that each member state of the GCC presented during the meeting its main concerns and needs regarding zoonotic diseases.

He added that the meeting delved into the details of the ZODIAC initiative, which lays down comprehensive strategic pillars for enhancing detection, diagnosis and surveillance capabilities and developing new technologies for disease detection and surveillance. ZODIAC is an initiative established in 2020 to help countries prevent epidemics caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses that originate in animals and can be transmitted to humans, using a systematic and integrated approach. It also helps enhance the readiness and capacity of member states to rapidly detect and respond to outbreaks of such diseases in a timely manner. — KUNA

The post After COVID-19, Kuwait explores ways to enhance response to zoonotic diseases appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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