One Health

One Health is an emerging area of research and recognises the relationship between animals, humans and their ecosystems and works to improve the lives of all species through the integration of human medicine, veterinary medicine and the environment.

Research and expertise within the Midlothian Science Zone is helping to deliver solutions to global challenges within livestock industries and both veterinary and human medicine. 

 

Though the concept of One Health has many definitions, a key feature of  is the promotion of collaboration between all sectors, locally, nationally and globally. Animals share many common features with humans and experience similar chronic illnesses. This has allowed research into comparative medicine which uses animal models to help further our understanding of both animal and human disease.

Its original emergence was largely driven by the threat of global pandemics of disease, in particular highly pathogenic avian influenza and SARS. There was a recognition that the complex health challenges faced in the 21st century required a new interdisciplinary approach that included both the natural and social sciences.

Animal Science

One Health is viewed as essential in developing best practice in the fight against zoonoses – infectious diseases in animals that can be passed on to humans. This is a significant and global problem, with the World Health Organisation reporting that 75% of all diseases discovered during the last twenty years have had zoonotic origins. Zoonotic diseases not only pose a threat to public and animal health, but they are also known to have devastating impacts on economies, particularly in developing nations. 

One Health has encouraged a new approach in responding to these infectious diseases which involves cooperation between physicians, veterinarians, governments and other professionals in the social and environmental field. This has led to joint efforts in diagnosis and prevention measures as well as improved communication to ensure greater control of disease.

There is recognised value in the improvement of animal wellbeing, whether companion animals or livestock. Animals and humans have long been interdependent, our health and animal health face challenges and researchers work to bridge the gap between animal and human medicine.

Researchers within the Midlothian Science Zone have encompassed One Health ideas by collaborating with colleagues across the human and animal spectrum of medicine.

Food Security

The continued rise in the population will result in greater pressures on resources and present major challenges to ensure food sustainability and security.

Disease in farmed animals can undermine food safety and animal welfare as well as weaken the sustainability of our food chain through substantial production losses and waste. This cost is felt not only in the loss of meat but also in the reduced yields of other crucial animal products such as milk and eggs.

Research is fundamental in ensuring the security of the food supply, as well as reducing the economic and safety risks connected to animal health.

Midlothian Science Zone partners and The University of Edinburgh serve research, clinical and agricultural communities in Scotland and beyond, with projects for human rare diseases, cancer, cognitive decline, population genomics and agricultural breeding stock selection. 

 

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