If it seems like outbreaks of infectious disease in animals and people have increased, they have. Contributing factors include encroachment of suburban communities into woodlands, climate change, and increasing global travel and trade. Preventing and controlling them is important to protect animal and human health and to help assure a safe, sustainable supply of animal protein.
Up to 75 percent of diseases that can affect people are zoonotic, meaning they can transmit between animals and people. The World Health Organization has identified approximately 200 such diseases. There are many and changing subtypes of influenza virus which can affect multiple species – including pigs, poultry, horses and dogs – as well as people. Some infectious pathogens such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease are transmitted by insects – mosquitos and ticks respectively – to people and animals.
Other types of infectious diseases such as Classical Swine Fever, Bluetongue and Schmallenberg affect only animals. Even so, they pose a challenge to people who count on having a safe sustainable supply of meat, milk, poultry and eggs from healthy animals as well as to the farm families whose livelihoods depend on animals. Up to 20 percent of food production animals are lost to disease annually with an associated cost of $120 billion from 1995 to 2008, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
OUR APPROACH - FIRST TO KNOW; FAST TO MARKET
Zoetis is determined to be the first to know about an emerging infectious disease and fast to market. Zoetis has the will and skills to be successful in this arena because of our internal capabilities and external alliances.
Expertise in Traditional and Rational Vaccine Development. We draw on the deep scientific knowledge Zoetis scientists have in infectious disease and our expertise in product development. When a traditional approach to vaccine development is not optimum, we’ll use a tailored, or ‘rational’, design to improve the safety and efficacy outcomes for a new vaccine.
Alliances with Centers of Excellence. Strong alliances with academic and government centers of excellence in disease surveillance are important to our success. Their ability to access isolates and their expertise in the identification and characterization of novel pathogens in a reference setting are invaluable to us. Our knowledge and expertise in relevant disease models and study designs help to develop them into much needed vaccines.
Regulatory Affairs. Our understanding of the requirements for approval and the excellent relationship with the various regulatory authorities worldwide supports our ability to respond quickly. Our speed to market is often dependent on the cooperation of health authorities and their recognition of an emerging infectious disease.
Flexible Manufacturing Capacity. Another key success factor is Zoetis’ capability to scale up product manufacturing at the highest level of quality. Our pilot facilities worldwide allow us to respond rapidly to an emerging situation and opportunity.
Read more about how Zoetis helps combat emerging infectious disease.