Slashing meat consumption and supporting vaccine passports could help cut the risk of emerging infectious diseases, according to an expert.
Cock Van Oosterhout is a professor of Evolutionary Genetics at the University of East Anglia.
His latest paper, published in Virulence, also highlights the level of greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture, which contributes ‘significantly’ towards global warming.
‘A significant threat’
“Mass food production has underpinned our ‘ecological success’ but it’s entirely unsustainable based on environmental, ecological, and coevolutionary grounds,” the report reads.
“We urgently need to reduce our reliance on animal protein, in particular the consumption of other mammals…
“The vast amount of antibiotics used to enhance growth and control infections has led to the emergence of new, more virulent, and more resistant microorganisms.
“Given that mammals are phylogenetically closely related to humans, they also pose the most significant threat for the evolution and transmission of zoonotic EIDS.”
Van Oosterhout also calls for more plant-based alternatives to meat. He then says reducing livestock is ‘imperative’ for public and planetary health.
Moreover, the report supports the idea of a vaccine passport to help with the gene flow of COVID-19.
Vaccine passports provide proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recently recovered from COVID-19.
Van Oosterhout says the initiative offers three benefits:
- Helping to open up the economy more rapidly.
- Protecting lives by reducing the risk of people contracting COVID-19
- Shortening the transmission chain, thereby reducing the opportunity for the virus to evolve increased virulence.
You can read the full report here