Professor Christian Drosten, a virologist, has advised the populace to embrace vegetarianism.
That, he said, would reduce the propensity of the people contracting diseases of zoonotic origin, with devastating consequences to humanity.
The medical scientist observed that: “The use of animals for husbandry purposes, for meat consumption in the growing global human population, is one of the drivers of human-animal contact, and animal-driven diseases (zoonotic diseases).
“As such, the consideration to reduce meat consumption, especially mammalian meat consumption is a justified consideration.”
Prof. Drosten was delivering a public lecture on the theme: “Preparing for the next Pandemic”, at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi.
The programme was organised under the supervision of the German-West African Centre for Global Health and Pandemic Prevention (G-WAC) Project, and Public Lectures Committee, KNUST.
Prof. Drosten’s lecture covered areas encompassing the studies of mammalian viruses, complex ecology behind viral emergence, studies on coronavirus in bats, respiratory, enteric and vector-borne transmission.
He gave a history of viruses and mode of viral transmissions such as the COVID-19, clear scientific evidence for respiratory pandemics in the past by viruses other than influenza, as well as epidemiology perspective – chain of emergence.
The medical scientist, who, in January 2020, co-published a workflow of RT-PCR diagnostic test that was approved and distributed by the World Health Organization (WHO), cautioned that the next pandemic could be caused by a virus (zoonotic origin).
Therefore, it was appropriate for policy-makers to put in place adequate measures in terms of research and medical infrastructure to ensure early detection while overcoming the devastating effects of emerging pandemics.
Prof. Drosten, former Head, Institute of Virology at the University of Bonn-Medical Center, Germany, co-discovered the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), for which he developed one of the first diagnostic tests in 2003.
Prof. Christian Agyare, Provost, College of Health Sciences, KNUST, who chaired the public lecture, advocated massive investment in medical research in order to nurture solutions to emerging pandemics.
The G-WAC aims at addressing the existential threat of global pandemics to the health and welfare of people through trans-and-interdisciplinary research projects targeting the drivers of pandemics.