Professor Tony Barnett and Dr Guillaume Fournié warn against banning wet markets or using standardised regulations in isolation of other measures to control animal-to-human (zoonotic) disease spread.

In a Comment article published in The Lancet Planetary Health this month, Professor Barnett and Dr Fournié, both of the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), UK, and both Hub co-Investigators, call instead for disease-control responses based upon a full understanding of national and local social, cultural and financial factors effecting behaviour change.

They write:

As shown with the response to the threat of avian influenza virus (AIV), local context and detailed understandings are crucial in effective responses… The key to the problem lies in structural interventions that are informed by detailed knowledge of local situations, of what is happening on the ground – however wet and slippery that ground may be!

They add:

[Policy h]eterogeneity, localism, and consultation might be more expensive, but are also more cost-effective in both the short and longer term.”