Veterinary expertise is missing in pandemic response

28 Nov 2020

Cooper, J. E.

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I share the concern of Tony Andrews (VR, 5/12 September 2020, vol 187, pp 195–196) and John Mackinnon (VR, 3/10 October 2020, vol 187, pp 277–278), among others, over the apparent failure of those tackling Covid-19 to capitalise on veterinary expertise in such areas as infectious disease control, biosecurity and our knowledge of animal coronaviruses.

I think the relevant phrase in Tony Andrews’ letter is where he says ‘our knowledge has fallen on deaf ears within the human medical community’. This is a sad situation considering that our profession owes much to human medicine.1 One of the founders of the UK’s first veterinary school, the London Veterinary College (now the Royal Veterinary College), was the surgeon, anatomist and pathologist John Hunter, who argued strongly for what we might now call ‘One Medicine’ – looking at disease as something that affects all living things.

From the 1990s, ‘One...