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Devastating epidemics like SARS-CoV, H1N1, H5N1, MERS, Ebola and COVID-19 have resulted in lost lives and livelihoods, ravaged economies and healthcare systems and disruptions to regional and global health security.

They have exacerbated social and gender inequalities and threaten to roll back decades of global development progress.

As a result, there is increased global interest in strengthening epidemic preparedness and response, particularly in low- and middle-income country hotspots, where infectious disease outbreaks often occur. These hotspots are key to developing and implementing policies to strengthen capacity and infrastructure to mitigate and control the threat of future epidemics.

In response to these concerns, IDRC launched the Collaborative One Health Research Initiative on Epidemics (COHRIE) in 2021, using a One Health approach for epidemic prevention and response. One Health applies an intersectoral, multidisciplinary and systems-based approach to research, policy and actions around situations where humans, animals and the environment intersect.


COHRIE actively:  

  • supports research that applies a One Health approach to identify, implement and assess potential innovations in policies, programs or practices 
  • assists countries in better preventing, preparing and responding to emerging infections and epidemics 

Producing evidence to tackle difficult challenges 

COHRIE is funding four multi-sectoral One Health research projects, which kicked off in late 2021 and early 2022. They are expected to produce stronger localized evidence on the following themes: 

  • Understanding and addressing the intersectoral drivers of epidemics 
  • Identifying and developing structural, systemic and policy-level interventions 
  • Strengthening data systems for enhanced multisectoral communication, coordination and collaboration 

A fifth knowledge mobilization project will coordinate knowledge mobilization efforts to facilitate the uptake and use of this evidence into national and global programs, policies and practices.

Our next steps 

Over the next two years, research projects will continue to generate local evidence on how best to implement the “One Health” approach in epidemic and pandemic prevention, with a focus on the Congo and Amazon Basin regions. 

Learn more  

Explore research projects that we support.