One Health, Vaccines and Ebola: The Opportunities for Shared Benefits

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (6):1011-1032 (2015)
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Abstract

The 2013 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, as of writing, is declining in reported human cases and mortalities. The resulting devastation caused highlights how health systems, in particular in West Africa, and in terms of global pandemic planning, are ill prepared to react to zoonotic pathogens. In this paper we propose One Health as a strategy to prevent zoonotic outbreaks as a shared goal: that human and Great Ape vaccine trials could benefit both species. Only recently have two phase 2/3 Ebola human vaccine trials been started in West Africa. This paper argues for a conceptual change in pandemic preparedness. We first discuss the ethics of One Health. Next, we focus on the current Ebola outbreak and defines its victims. Third, we present the notion of a ‘shared benefit’ approach, grounded in One Health, and argue for the vaccination of wild apes in order to protect both apes and humans. We believe that a creation of such inter-species immunity is an exemplar of One Health, and that it is worth pursuing as a coextensive public health approach

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