Linking Emerging Infectious Diseases Research and Policy Networks in Southeast Asia and China: APEIR Phase II
The Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (APEIR) is a multi-country, multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral research network that enables researchers and experts from several sectors, including agriculture and health, to explore joint research and policy questions in animal and public health. The partnership uses an ecohealth approach to address the complexity of emerging infectious diseases. This project presents a new phase of APEIR research on emerging threats from antimicrobial resistance and wildlife trade. It aims to strengthen the field of ecohealth and enhance emerging infectious disease control in Asia through research, capacity building, social and policy advocacy, and stronger knowledge and response networks. The wide use and abuse of antimicrobials as anti-infective drugs and non-therapeutic treatments are key contributors to persistent infections caused by resistance to antimicrobials. This use and abuse is also a major cause of morbidity and mortality around the world. In China and Southeast Asia, the lack of policy or regulation enforcements means that the use of antibiotics is not well-controlled. This research will provide evidence and guidance to develop country-specific and regional strategies to improve the responsible use of antibiotics and to reduce the emergence of resistant infectious agents in China, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Southeast Asia's thriving wildlife trade supports disease transmission to humans. It also threatens livestock, international trade, rural livelihoods, native wildlife populations, and ecosystem health. Little is known about the zoonotic disease risks involved in transmitting diseases between animals and humans. This study will assess the pathogens that circulate and will explore possible pathways of transmission to humans, specifically in China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. It will help prevent emerging zoonotic infectious diseases. It will also decrease wildlife consumption, while educating people about the safe and wise use of wildlife as a source of food protein for poor people. Finally, it will support wildlife diversity and mitigate illegal wildlife trade in the region. Building on past research on avian influenza and ongoing knowledge-translation activities in the health field, this new phase of work will help APEIR build and support regional capacity to communicate and share knowledge to promptly address emerging infectious disease threats.