Unite human, animal and environmental health to prevent the next pandemic – UN Report

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  • COVID-19 is just one example of the rising trend of diseases – from Ebola to MERS to West Nile and Rift Valley fevers – caused by viruses that have jumped from animal hosts into the human population.

  • A new assessment offers ten recommendations and identifies One Health as the optimal way to prevent and respond to future pandemics.

  • The rising trend in zoonotic diseases is driven by the degradation of our natural environment – through land degradation, wildlife exploitation, resource extraction, climate change, and other stresses.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take lives and disrupt economies across the world, a new report warns that further outbreaks will emerge unless governments take active measures to prevent other zoonotic diseases from crossing into the human population, and sets out ten recommendations to prevent future pandemics.

The report, Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission, is a joint effort by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

It identifies seven trends driving the increasing emergence of zoonotic diseases, including increased demand for animal protein; a rise in intense and unsustainable farming; the increased use and exploitation of wildlife; and the climate crisis. The report finds that Africa in particular, which has experienced and responded to a number of zoonotic epidemics including most recently, to Ebola outbreaks, could be a source of important solutions to quell future outbreaks.

“The science is clear that if we keep exploiting wildlife and destroying our ecosystems, then we can expect to see a steady stream of these diseases jumping from animals to humans in the years ahead,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen. “Pandemics are devastating to our lives and our economies, and as we have seen over the past months, it is the poorest and the most vulnerable who suffer the most. To prevent future outbreaks, we must become much more deliberate about protecting our natural environment.”

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A “zoonotic disease” or “zoonosis” is a disease that has passed into the human population from an animal source. COVID-19, which has already caused more than half a million deaths around the world, most likely originated in bats. But COVID-19 is only the latest in a growing number of diseases – including Ebola, MERS, West Nile fever and Rift Valley fever – whose spread from animal hosts into human populations has been intensified by anthropogenic pressures.

Every year, some two million people, mostly in low- and middle-income countries, die from neglected zoonotic diseases. The same outbreaks can cause severe illness, deaths, and productivity losses among livestock populations in the developing world, a major problem that keeps hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers in severe poverty. In the last two decades alone, zoonotic diseases have caused economic losses of more than $100 billion, not including the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is expected to reach $9 trillion over the next few years.

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African countries have an opportunity to lead pandemic prevention efforts

Zoonotic diseases are on the rise everywhere on the planet, and African countries – a number of which have successfully managed deadly zoonotic outbreaks – have the potential to leverage this experience to tackle future outbreaks through approaches that incorporate human, animal and environmental health. The continent is home to a large portion of the world’s remaining intact rainforests and other wildlands. Africa is also home to the world’s fastest-growing human population, leading to an increase in encounters between livestock and wildlife and in turn, the risk of zoonotic diseases.

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“The situation on the continent today is ripe for intensifying existing zoonotic diseases and facilitating the emergence and spread of new ones,” said ILRI Director General Jimmy Smith. “But with their experiences with Ebola and other emerging diseases, African countries are demonstrating proactive ways to manage disease outbreaks. They are applying, for example, novel risk-based rather than rule-based approaches to disease control, which are best suited to resource-poor settings, and they are joining up human, animal and environment expertise in proactive One Health initiatives.”

The report’s authors identify the One Health approach — which unites public health, veterinary and environmental expertise — as the optimal method for preventing as well as responding to zoonotic disease outbreaks and pandemics.

10 recommendations

The report identifies ten practical steps that governments can take to prevent future zoonotic outbreaks:

  • Investing in interdisciplinary approaches, including One Health;
  • Expanding scientific enquiry into zoonotic diseases;
  • Improving cost-benefit analyses of interventions to include full-cost accounting of societal impacts of disease;
  • Raising awareness of zoonotic diseases;
  • Strengthening monitoring and regulation practices associated with zoonotic diseases, including food systems;
  • Incentivizing sustainable land management practices and developing alternatives for food security and livelihoods that do not rely on the destruction of habitats and biodiversity;
  • Improving biosecurity and control, identifying key drivers of emerging diseases in animal husbandry and encouraging proven management and zoonotic disease control measures;
  • Supporting the sustainable management of landscapes and seascapes that enhance sustainable co-existence of agriculture and wildlife;
  • Strengthening capacities among health stakeholders in all countries; and
  • Operationalizing the One Health approach in land-use and sustainable development planning, implementation and monitoring, among other fields.
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The report launch comes on World Zoonoses Day, observed by research institutions and non-governmental entities on 6 July, which commemorates the work of French biologist Louis Pasteur. On 6 July 1885, Pasteur successfully administered the first vaccine against rabies, a zoonotic disease.

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Unite human, animal and environmental health to prevent the next pandemic – UN Report - Brand SpurUnite human, animal and environmental health to prevent the next pandemic – UN Report - Brand Spur

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Latest News

DEBx Medical Receives CE Mark Clearance and ISO 13485 Certification for Debrichem(R), a Novel Desiccant Gel for Chemical Debridement to Initiate Healing in Infected,...

  • Debrichem(R) offers a very effective, alternative approach to chronic wound care, initiating healing in more than 90 % of cases after one application[1]
  • CE mark and ISO 13485:2016 certification are important prerequisites for upcoming launches in markets worldwide
  • Chronic wounds affect 1 - 2 % of developed countries' populations,[2] unsuccessful treatment may lead to enlargement of the wound, bone involvement or in the worst case, amputation[3]
  • Debrichem soon to be launched in Europe, Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia


ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS - EQS Newswire - 25 February 2021 - DEBx Medical, the Dutch medical technology company revolutionizing the management of chronic wounds, is excited to highlight today the successful completion of the CE conformity assessment procedure for Debrichem(R). The innovative topical agent offers a superior alternative to surgical debridement, the current standard of care. Debrichem can now carry the CE mark for a medical device class IIb and has also been awarded ISO 13485:2016 certification. These certifications endorse the quality and safety of Debrichem to treat a high unmet medical need and the strength of the DEBx Medical team to achieve this quickly even in such difficult times. DEBx Medical plans first to launch Debrichem in Europe, South Africa as well as Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia through a network of distribution partners; other markets will follow. DEBx Medical has started consultations with the FDA about the pathway to approval earlier this year.

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Debrichem is a topical desiccant gel for chemical wound debridement used for the treatment of chronic infected and/or necrotic wounds. This novel product desiccates (dehydrates) the biofilm and the pathogens in the wound bed, debriding the biofilm chemically instead of surgically. Surrounding healthy skin is not affected.[4] The data underlying the CE mark approval show that, after a one-time 60-second application, more than 90 % of wounds result in full granulation,1 an important step in the healing process.[5] Due to its fast action and applicability outside the surgery room, Debrichem can easily be integrated within standard wound care procedures.4

"Being granted the CE mark and ISO 13485 certification for Debrichem in less than two years after founding DEBx Medical is an exciting and important milestone. I am proud of our achievements and would like to thank the whole team involved in this huge effort," said Dr. Bertus Quint, founding CEO of DEBx Medical. "Chronic wounds are painful and debilitating and patients have very limited options for healing. With Debrichem, we set out to significantly improve this situation which is frustrating for healthcare professionals and patients alike. We believe that Debrichem has the potential to meaningfully improve health outcomes and quality of life for millions of patients worldwide."

"In my day-to-day work, I experience the patients' despair associated with chronic wounds and the doctors' frustration with their inability to provide patients long-term healing. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the situation has been exacerbated: many of our patients are in high-risk groups - elderly, diabetic or chronic cardiovascular patients - who now cannot go to the hospital for their urgently needed treatment," said David L. Helfet, MD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College and Hospital for Special Surgery, New York Presbyterian Hospital. "The major advantage of Debrichem is that with a relatively simple, quick, one time application it destroys the biofilm. Removing the biofilm is absolute key to get chronic wounds to heal. Debrichem is an important step forward in the management of chronic wounds and will find its place in the standard of care in a very short time. It may even have the potential to become the new gold standard for debridement in chronic wound care."

Chronic wounds are defined as wounds that have not healed, at least in part, after 4 to 12 weeks.[6] Physiologically, healing of chronic wounds is corrupted, among other factors, by excess inflammation and a recurrent or persistent, if not drug-resistant, microbial infection, often in the biofilm on a wound bed.4 The current gold standard treatment, maintenance surgical debridement, is a painful procedure performed in a sterile environment. Surgical debridement does not reliably initiate healing of the wound but can be part of an extensive wound management program requiring patients to repeatedly come into the hospital. Not surprisingly, general quality of life is impaired in patients with chronic wounds.6 Chronic wounds are estimated to have a prevalence of up to 2 % in the general population.[7] The wound etiology has an impact on outcome, arterial ulcers and venous leg ulcers are notoriously difficult to heal. Chronic wounds are also a common comorbidity of diabetes,[8] 13 % of patients with diabetes in North America to 17 % in Belgium are suffering from chronic wounds.[9] The burden of chronic wounds to healthcare systems and society around the world is substantial, exacerbated by the high rate of amputation in especially diabetic patients which is close to 34 % for diabetic foot ulcers.8 In the UK alone, chronic wounds generated costs of GBP 5.6 bn in 2018. The total wound care costs in the UK increased annually by 8 - 9 % with chronic wounds accounting for the largest share.[10]

References
[1] Cogo A et al., J Wound Care 2020;29(Sup7b):63-64. https://doi.org/10.12968/jowc.2020.29.Sup7b.1
[2] Nussbaum SR et al., Value Health 2018;21:27-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jval.2017.07.007
[3] Strohal R et al., J Wound Care 2013; 22 (Suppl. 1): S1-S52. https://doi.org/10.12968/jowc.2013.22.Sup1.S1
[4] Cogo A et al., Wounds 2021;33:1-8. https://www.woundsresearch.com/article/restarting-healing-process-chronic-wounds-using-novel-desiccant-prospective-case-series
[5]http://www.shieldhealthcare.com/community/popular/2015/12/18/how-wounds-heal-the-4-main-phases-of-wound-healing/
[6] Olsson M et al., Wound Repair Regen 2019;27(1):114-125. https://doi.org/10.1111/wrr.12683
[7] Martinengo L et al., Ann Epidemiol 2019;29:8-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2018.10.005
[8] McCosker L et al., Int Wound J 2019;16:84-95. https://doi.org/10.1111/iwj.12996
[9] Zhang P et al., Ann Med 2017;49:106-116. https://doi.org/10.1080/07853890.2016.1231932
[10] Guest JF et al., BMJ Open 2020;10:e045253. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-045253


The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.


About Debrichem(R)

Debrichem(R) is a disruptive new treatment option to address the infection in chronic wounds. The topical agent offers a superior alternative to surgical debridement, the current standard of care. Debrichem has been demonstrated to remove the biofilm and the pathogens from the wound bed that disrupt the onset of the natural healing process. Out of the more than 1.000 patients treated so far, more than 90 % of chronic wounds started to heal after only one treatment with Debrichem.4 The product is applied in a fast and simple, non-invasive procedure. Healthcare professionals should always consider using local anesthetics when applying the treatment. Debrichem can be used outside a surgical environment which can be particularly useful in situations, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, where patients cannot get to hospitals to undergo surgery, avoiding long-term complications like amputation. Debrichem will be sold through a worldwide network of distributors, with the first market launches expected in Q1 2021.


About DEBx Medical

DEBx Medical B.V. is a Dutch medical technology company dedicated to revolutionizing the management of chronic wounds by enabling their healing, thereby improving the outcomes for millions of patients. DEBx Medical supports doctors and their patients from diagnosis through treatment, follow-up care, and maintenance of a healthy wound bed. The Company focuses its pipeline on targeting pathogens that corrupt wound healing, aiming to deliver affordable and effective treatment approaches that can easily be applied and implemented in daily clinical practice. Debrichem(R), DEBx Medical's first product, received a CE mark in early 2021 and will be launched in markets around the world. Debrichem offers a disruptive approach to debridement that has been demonstrated to enable healing of chronic wounds in more than 90 % of cases.

Unite human, animal and environmental health to prevent the next pandemic – UN Report - Brand Spur
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