Australian expert appointed to One Health High Level Expert Advisory Panel

Professor John Mackenzie

The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security is delighted that Professor John Mackenzie, a member of the Centre’s Technical Reference Group, has been announced as one of 26 selected key international experts in the new One Health High Level Expert Advisory Panel established jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Organization for Animal Health, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization.

At the end of May 2021, the Panel was launched and will initially focus on delivering:

• policy relevant scientific assessment on the emergence of health crises arising from the human-animal-ecosystem interface; and

• guidance on the development of a long-term strategic approach to reducing the risk of zoonotic pandemics, with an associated monitoring and early warning framework, and synergies needed to institutionalize and implement the One Health approach, including in areas that drive pandemic risk.

It will also provide a common and better understanding of the impacts of food systems (including agriculture, livestock farming and trade, wildlife hunting and trade, aquaculture, animal products processing, handling, distribution and consumer practices) as well as ecological and environmental factors that may be contributing to zoonotic disease emergence/re-emergence and spillover events.

We spoke to Professor Mackenzie recently about his new role. He noted that whilst the activities of the Panel are still being finalised, the general concepts have been decided and four working groups had been devised to facilitate the first year of work for panel members. They are:

• One Health implementation;

• Inventory of current knowledge in preventing emerging zoonoses;

• Surveillance, early detection and rapid data sharing in the prevention of emerging zoonoses; and

• Factors causing spillover and subsequent spread of diseases.

Learn more about the group’s participants and objectives here.

Professor Mackenzie is most interested in looking at the drivers of disease emergence and subsequent spread. With his background in vector-borne diseases he has an especially strong understanding of the impact of land-use changes on vector movement, establishment of diseases in new areas and the emergence of new zoonoses. He is looking forward to contributing to the spillover working group.

Read about other panel members including from our region: Wiku Bakti Adisasmito from the University of Indonesia and Dr David Hayman from Massey University, New Zealand.

Professor Mackenzie is also a key supporter of the World One Health Congress, with the first event organised by him and Professor Martyn Jeggo in Melbourne in 2011. The 7th Congress is planned as a hybrid in-person and online event in Singapore in November 2022.