‘One Health’: What Is It, Who’s Promoting It — and Why?

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Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D.

This article was originally published by The Defender

The “One Health” concept has been gaining traction among public health policymakers in recent years — but questions remain about what One Health really means, who’s behind the concept and whether what started out as a sound idea has since been hijacked by individuals or groups that see it as a means to expand their power.

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series on the One Health initiative. Part 1 introduces the One Health concept, looks at who is promoting it and draws connections between One Health and the COVID-19 pandemic narrative of the last three years.

The “One Health” concept has been gaining traction among public health policymakers in recent years — but questions remain about what One Health really means, who’s behind the concept and whether what started out as a sound idea has since been hijacked by individuals or groups that see it as a means to expand their power.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines One Health as “an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems,” as they are “closely linked and interdependent.”

On the surface, that approach sounds noble and reasonable. But some scientists and medical experts told The Defender they’re concerned about the concept’s vague goals, and the motivation of those involved with the development and global rollout of the concept — including the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Bank.

Some experts also questioned the connections many key figures in the One Health initiative have to entities involved in controversial gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China.

Defining ‘One Health’

The WHO argues that by linking humans, animals and the environment, the One Health approach can “help to address the full spectrum of disease control — from prevention to detection, preparedness, response and management — and contribute to global health security.”

According to the WHO:

“While health, food, water, energy and environment are all wider topics with sector-specific concerns, the collaboration across sectors and disciplines contributes to protect health, address health challenges such as the emergence of infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and food safety and promote the health and integrity of our ecosystems.

“The approach can be applied at the community, subnational, national, regional and global levels, and relies on shared and effective governance, communication, collaboration and coordination. Having the One Health approach in place makes it easier for people to better understand the co-benefits, risks, trade-offs and opportunities to advance equitable and holistic solutions.”

However, according to independent journalist and researcher James Roguski, a definition of One Health also appears on page 952 of the recently passed National Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2023, which states:

“The term ‘One Health approach’ means the collaborative, multi-sectoral, and transdisciplinary approach toward achieving optimal health outcomes in a manner that recognizes the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.”

And a WHO One Health “fact sheet” published Oct. 3, 2022, claims that “The health of humans, animals, and ecosystems are closely interlinked. Changes in these relationships can increase the risk of new human and animal diseases developing and spreading.”

The fact sheet states that “60% of emerging infectious diseases that are reported globally come from animals, both wild and domestic” and “Over 30 new human pathogens have been detected in the last 3 decades, 75% of which have originated in animals.”

“Human activities and stressed ecosystems have created new opportunities for diseases to emerge and spread,” the WHO notes.

What are such “stressors,” according to the WHO? They “include animal trade, agriculture, livestock farming, urbanization, extractive industries, climate change, habitat fragmentation and encroachment into wild areas.”

Hinting at claims that COVID-19 emerged in such a manner, rather than as part of a lab leak, the WHO claims:

“For example, the way land is used can impact the number of malaria cases. Weather patterns and human-built water controls can affect diseases like dengue. Trade in live, wild animals can increase the likelihood of infectious diseases jumping over to people (called disease spillover).

“The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the need for a global framework for improved surveillance and a more holistic, integrated system. Gaps in One Health knowledge, prevention and integrated approaches were seen as key drivers of the pandemic.

“By addressing the linkages between human, animal and environmental health, One Health is seen as a transformative approach to improved global health.”

Experts: One Health concept noble, but idea ‘hijacked’

Several experts who spoke with The Defender said the core concept of “One Health” is noble, but along the way, it was “hijacked” by powerful entities seeking to instrumentalize it for their own ends.

Dr. Meryl Nass, a member of the Children’s Health Defense scientific advisory committee, told The Defender that One Health “seems to have been invented by a doctor and a veterinarian, and I don’t think they had any idea of what it was going to be used for.”

“They just seemed to think it was a good idea to think about zoonotic diseases through the lens of a vet, as well as medical and zoonotic diseases or diseases that people catch from animals,” Nass added.

Dr. David Bell, a public health physician and biotech consultant and former director of global health technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund, called the One Health concept a “perfectly sensible approach to looking at health that’s been hijacked like so many other things.”

Bell told The Defender:

“The concept of One Health originally was just pointing out the obvious that people have known for thousands of years: that human health is connected to the environment, connected to their food chain, connected to the animals they live with, et cetera, and that if you are trying to improve general human health, population health, then dealing with these other influences that harm health is … perfectly rational.”

He noted, as an example, that “some diseases, like bovine tuberculosis, affect humans as well,” so managing that disease would lead to fewer humans contracting it.

Bell said that while “there’s nothing wrong with the concept of One Health in its generic form, the problem is it has been co-opted by people who want to use public health to control a society, enrich themselves and enrich their sponsors.”

Because One Health can be defined so broadly, Bell said, “It’s now being looked at as anything in the biosphere that could potentially affect human wellbeing … you could say anything that causes stress on people is part of the One Health agenda.”

He added:

“If you’re a really wealthy person that sponsors something like the WHO, and you wanted to increase the reach of your power and ability to enrich yourself, then One Health becomes really valuable in public health — because public health is virtually anything that humans interact with or do.

“And then, you can justify almost any way of controlling people on the basis that, in some way, you’re protecting someone, somewhere, from some form of ill health or reduced quality of health.”

Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and co-chair of the Stop Vaccine Passports Task Force, described One Health as “a very holistic-sounding approach to healthcare” that emphasizes “the interface between human health, animal health, plant health and ecological health.”

“All of that sounds very inclusive and holistic,” said Littlejohn, but “my concern is that it gives the WHO, under the pandemic treaty, the ability to intervene in any aspect of life on earth. So, if they find a health risk that involves animals or plants or even the environment, not just humans, then they can go into operation concerning that.”

Nass noted that “very few people in the Western world actually catch diseases from animals unless you define them in a certain way,” citing claims made by some scientists that influenza is a zoonotic disease, for instance.

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According to Nass:

“The reason half a billion people or more get the flu every year is because it goes person to person primarily, although it does reassort in animals … and so, the idea that you have to change the way we look at medicine to account for them is a completely ridiculous concept.”

The One Health concept “is much more popular in the public health and veterinary communities” than the medical community, Nass said, because “it doesn’t make any sense for doctors.”

WHO, World Economic Forum expanded the scope of ‘One Health’

According to Nass, while One Health, as a concept, was introduced approximately 20 years ago, it was later “rolled out at the World Economic Forum [WEF] in Davos,” with the support of the CDC.

“Apparently, globalists got the idea that they could use it for their own purposes, and subsequently they’ve expanded what it is,” Nass said. “So, it started out as humans and animals, then it went to food and agriculture and plants, and then recently, ecosystems were included, which meant the whole planet.”

According to the WHO, a “One Health Quadripartite” has been formed, along with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), who “have developed a One Health Joint Plan of Action.”

Following this, a “One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) was formed in May 2021, to advise FAO, UNEP, WHO and WOAH on One Health issues.”

The WHO says these issues include “recommendations for research on emerging disease threats, and the development of a long-term global plan of action to avert outbreaks of diseases like H5N1 avian influenza, MERS, Ebola, Zika, and, possibly, COVID-19.”

OHHLEP, composed of 26 “international experts,” meets five to six times per year. The panel says it will:

“… have a role in investigating the impact of human activity on the environment and wildlife habitats, and how this drives disease threats.

“Critical areas include food production and distribution, urbanization and infrastructure development, international travel and trade, activities that lead to biodiversity loss and climate change, and those that put increased pressure on the natural resource base — all of which can lead to the emergence of zoonotic diseases.”

Nass noted that “climate change and climate disaster” are the recent additions to the WHO’s One Health agenda, turning a tripartite into the current quadripartite plan.

At the November 2022 OHHLEP meeting, agenda items included developing a “Theory of Change” (ToC) in connection with One Health, and inserting commentaries in The Lancet to promote this “theory.”

The minutes of the meeting also appear to tie the Lancet commentary and the ToC with the pandemic treaty, stating:

“Publishing a Lancet commentary on the ToC detailing where it should be applied, with the objective of influencing the pandemic instrument (800 words commentary piece).

“A more extensive version could be finalized and sent to the Lancet for a separate publication.”

Earlier this year, The Lancet published a “series” on “One Health and Global Health Security,” composed of four articles — with OHHLEP members as the listed authors — plus an editorial, a “viewpoint” and a commentary. They include:

According to Nass, The Lancet previously created a “One Health Commission” in an effort to “try and develop some kind of science to show that One Health was a good thing and the One Health approach was going to help.

However, despite the many articles they have published, including in journals other than The Lancet, “they couldn’t explain why One Health was so important” but instead “waffle around,” Nass said.

In a recent Substack post, Nass analyzed The Lancet’s May 9, 2020, announcement regarding the formation of the One Health Commission, and highlighted excerpts from the announcement:

  • This past century has seen human dominance over the biosphere, manifest in technological innovations, accelerated mobility, and converted ecosystems that characterise industrialisation, globalisation, and urbanisation. These developmental trajectories have advanced human health in unprecedented ways. However, they also make humans increasingly vulnerable to contemporary global health challenges, such as emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.
  • The apparent dominance of the human species comes with a huge responsibility. Thus, in our quest to ensure the health and continued existence of humanity, consideration must be given to the complex interconnectedness and interdependence of all living species and the environment.
  • The One Health concept has been recognised and promoted by the UN, the G20, and WHO, among several others. The Sustainable Development Goals in themselves can be understood as embodying a One Health strategy aimed at healthy people living on a perpetually habitable planet.
  • The Commission’s work is expected to offer a recalibrated understanding of the ways in which these global health challenges are implicated within the complex interconnectedness of humans, animals, and our shared environment, and to provide an approach for harnessing this knowledge to ensure a sustainably healthy future for all species, and the planet we inhabit.
  • Conclusions from the Commission are anticipated to be integrated in policy briefs, international guidelines and protocols, and various high-level global health resolutions.

Remarking on the proclamations, Nass wrote that these statements are based on “false” and “evidence-free” assertions, a goal to curb “human dominance,” a desire to “shove these ideas down your throat” and an effort to “train a young crop of impressionable leaders like the WEF does,” who will implement these plans.

“Did you gain any understanding of how One Health might provide value to any animal, human or plant?” Nass asked. “I sure didn’t.”

Key OHHLEP figures involved with EcoHealth Alliance, CDC, World Bank

Several members of the OHHLEP have connections with the EcoHealth Alliance — which was heavily involved with gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — the U.S. and Chinese CDC, the World Bank and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

One such individual is Catherine Machalaba, Ph.D., senior policy advisor and senior scientist for the EcoHealth Alliance, who also was lead author of the World Bank Operational Framework for Strengthening Human, Animal and Environmental Public Health Systems at their Interface, also known as the One Health Operational Framework.

Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, a veterinarian who served on the “One Health Action Collaborative for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Forum on Microbial Threats” since 2018, is another. She previously “led CDC’s One Health response to COVID-19” and participated in “several COVID-19 working groups.”

Two officials from the Chinese CDC — Dr. George Fu Gao and Dr. Lei Zhou — also sit on the committee, along with members from Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Congo, France, Germany, Guinea, India, Indonesia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

Littlejohn told The Defender she believes it’s no coincidence that individuals from the EcoHealth Alliance and other entities who vociferously denied the “lab-leak theory” of COVID-19 are members of OHHLEP.

“When they talk about One Health and the zoonotic origins of disease, and they cite as, as the example, the COVID-19 pandemic, they assume that it came from a bat or a pangolin, and it diverts attention away from the fact that it may very well have been — and looks more and more like — it was a lab leak.

“So, it diverts attention away from the dangers of gain-of-function research and puts it towards the entanglement of other wildlife. It’s almost like it makes nature the threat, as opposed to gain-of-function research.”

Nass shared a similar view. Referencing Peter Daszak, Ph.D., president of the EcoHealth Alliance — who also chaired The Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission — she told The Defender:

“Early in 2020, I realized he and EcoHealth Alliance were involved with this whole cover-up of the COVID origin. And so, I was reading all these different articles that he’d authored and looking into what he was doing.

“I found he was talking about One Health and about all these environmental degradation problems, the loss of biodiversity that was going to affect human health. He was creating a narrative.”

In a June 6, 2021, post on her blog, Nass highlighted Daszak’s ties to Gao, the CDC, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), military funding sources, the WEF and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

In 2019, Daszak argued that many “emerging diseases” are “zoonotic,” necessitating a One Health approach that could “help disease prediction and preparedness.”

Nass told The Defender that Daszak and Fauci “were working on spreading this same narrative … that humans and human degradation of the environment is what causes pandemics, and that pandemics are all natural and come from these zoonotic exposures.”

In a Nov. 15, 2022, Substack post, Nass drew connections between Daszak, Fauci and the One Health concept, referencing a 2020 paper co-authored by Fauci which stated:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is yet another reminder, added to the rapidly growing archive of historical reminders, that in a human-dominated world, in which our human activities represent aggressive, damaging, and unbalanced interactions with nature, we will increasingly provoke new disease emergences. We remain at risk for the foreseeable future.

“COVID-19 is among the most vivid wake-up calls in over a century. It should force us to begin to think in earnest and collectively about living in more thoughtful and creative harmony with nature, even as we plan for nature’s inevitable, and always unexpected, surprises.”

Similarly, a December 2019 paper co-authored by Daszak claimed:

“Over 30% of all emerging infectious diseases are driven by factors associated with land use change and agricultural development.

“This process leads to expansion of wildlife hunting and trade networks that are responsible for multiple outbreaks of Ebola virus, and the first pandemic of the twenty-first century — SARS.”

Nass told The Defender:

“I thought that the reason they were spreading that narrative was to cover up the COVID origins. But I wasn’t sure why they were talking about environmental degradation and all that.

“And then, months down the road, I came to realize it was about this whole concept being made part of One Health and then being part of the justification for the whole biosecurity agenda.”

Francis Boyle, J.D., Ph.D., professor of international law at the University of Illinois and a bioweapons expert who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, told The Defender:

“The entire One Health Scheme is based upon the patent lie and obvious disinformation that COVID-19 somehow magically leaped from some animal in the Wuhan wet-market instead of being an offensive biological warfare weapon with gain-of-function properties that leaked out of the Wuhan BSL4 [biosecurity level 4 lab].”

Nass wrote in June 2021 that Daszak chaired the International Workshop on Biodiversity and Pandemics Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, whose executive summary “seems to be a commercial for Daszak’s multibillion dollar One Health initiative to (supposedly) prevent pandemics. Not start them.”

Nass wrote that this summary “also contains many clues to where the purveyors of the pandemic seem to want to take the world’s people,” including the claim that the emergence of disease “is caused by human activities.”

Perhaps belying the real intentions behind the One Health agenda, as envisioned by public health agencies today, Nass noted that the summary also called for green corporate bonds, reduced meat consumption and “reassessing the relationship between people and nature.”

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

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