Post COVID-19: a solution scan of options for preventing future zoonotic epidemics.
The crisis generated by the emergence and pandemic spread of COVID-19 has thrown into the global spotlight the dangers associated with novel diseases, as well as the key role of animals, especially wild animals, as potential sources of pathogens to humans. There is a widespread demand for a new relationship with wild and domestic animals, including suggested bans on hunting, wildlife trade, wet markets or consumption of wild animals. However, such policies risk ignoring essential elements of the problem as well as alienating and increasing hardship for local communities across the world, and might be unachievable at scale. There is thus a need for a more complex package of policy and practical responses. We undertook a solution scan to identify and collate 161 possible options for reducing the risks of further epidemic disease transmission from animals to humans, including potential further SARS-CoV-2 transmission (original or variants). We include all categories of animals in our responses (i.e. wildlife, captive, unmanaged/feral and domestic livestock and pets) and focus on pathogens (especially viruses) that, once transmitted from animals to humans, could acquire epidemic potential through high rates of human-to-human transmission. This excludes measures to prevent well-known zoonotic diseases, such as rabies, that cannot readily transmit between humans. We focused solutions on societal measures, excluding the development of vaccines and other preventive therapeutic medicine and veterinary medicine options that are discussed elsewhere. We derived our solutions through reading the scientific literature, NGO position papers, and industry guidelines, collating our own experiences, and consulting experts in different fields. Herein, we review the major zoonotic transmission pathways and present an extensive list of options. The potential solutions are organised according to the key stages of the trade chain and encompass solutions that can be applied at the local, regional and international scales. This is a set of options targeted at practitioners and policy makers to encourage careful examination of possible courses of action, validating their impact and documenting outcomes.