Leading international experts in animal-to-human diseases today announce the launch of the UKRI GCRF One Heath Poultry Hub.

Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund¹ (GCRF) of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), this interdisciplinary Hub will address the need to meet rising demand for poultry meat and eggs in developing countries, while minimising risk to international public health.

Population growth is driving continually increasing demand for poultry meat and egg production. However, rapid intensification creates conditions for diseases to emerge and spill over to people (‘zoonoses’). These include bacterial food poisoning and strains of avian influenza with epidemic or pandemic potential. Increased antimicrobial resistance due to misuse of antibiotics in poultry farming is also a major global threat.

The need for safe, sustainable poultry production is most urgent in South and Southeast Asia and the UKRI GCRF One Health Poultry Hub will work in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The Hub is led by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), London, and comprises partners in Asia, Australia, Europe and the UK².

The Hub brings teams of laboratory, clinical, veterinary and social scientists together to take a ‘One Health’³ approach to the challenge of providing safe, secure food. It will investigate how and why intensification of poultry production increases risk of infectious disease, and will identify high-risk behaviours, process and environments. It will also test and evaluate novel interventions for disease control. The research process will start on 13 February 2019.

With strong networks of local, regional and global stakeholders, the evidence generated will be put to immediate use by those who can make a difference. Thus, the Hub’s outcomes will have wide regional and global relevance.

Hub Director Professor Fiona Tomley of the RVC, pictured above, said:

I am privileged and delighted to lead this exciting partnership. The enthusiasm and engagement of our diverse team gives me confidence that we will succeed in assisting the development of policies for environmental, economic and social sustainability of poultry production systems and reduce threats to human and animal health and welfare.

Note to editors:

  1. The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government in late 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. GCRF forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Find out more at: ukri.org/research/global-challenges-research-fund/
  2. The GCRF One Health Poultry Hub comprises: Royal Veterinary College, UK (lead); Anand Agricultural University, India;  Animal and Plant Health Agency, UK; Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, Bangladesh; Bangladesh Poultry Industries Council, Bangladesh; Chatham House, UK;
  3. Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Bangladesh; Christian Medical College, Vellore, India; CIRAD – French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, Vietnam; City University of Hong Kong, China; Department of Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam; Department of Animal Production and Health, Sri Lanka; Department of Livestock Sciences, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh; Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat, India; Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; Institute of Development Studies, UK; Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, Bangladesh; Jawaharlal Nehru University, India; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK; Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; National Institute of Animal Sciences, Vietnam; National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Vietnam; National Institute of Veterinary Research, Vietnam; Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, India; The Pirbright Institute, UK; Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; University of Oxford, UK; University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; University of Queensland, Australia; Veterinary Research Institute, Sri Lanka; Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Vietnam.
  4. One Health recognises that human, animal and environmental health are inter-related, and so a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to zoonoses research, policy and management is needed.