ICBAS - Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar

ICBAS director interviewed about the One Health concept

The One Health is not a new concept, but it gained another meaning with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is known that the most plausible hypothesis for the worldwide action of a virus that had never affected humans is that it was transmitted by an animal, like 75% of the infections that affect us. But the relationship between animals, humans and the environment is not limited to infectious diseases and has led various entities, such as the French NHS, to invest in new ways of investigating and protecting health.

The Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS), in Porto, has been studying this 'global health' for four years, and on several fronts. With various investigations in progress, they introduced the 'One Health' subject in all courses and is the only faculty in ways of creating a MSc programme focused on this new way of seeing health.

Due to the work carried out, the director of ICBAS was the only Portuguese heard in the European Parliament talking about the concept and how it could be applied.

Henrique Cyrne Carvalho is a cardiologist and director of the Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar. Foto: Rui Duarte Silva (Expresso).

To Expresso, Henrique Cyrne Carvalho guarantees that thinking about human health without detaching it from animal and environmental health will have to dominate the research, training and policy strategies of the future.

Read the full interview here.

Source: Expresso.

OH Know More

Protecting biodiversity: the basis for One Health

By Begoña Pérez-Cabezas, ICBAS

PORTO - Biodiversity refers to all the living species (and its interactions) on Earth, including plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi. Whenever preserved, biodiversity forms balanced ecosystems that are the basis of a sustainable planet. The quality of the ecosystems translated in the quality of the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.

Plants are essential for the production of oxygen and the absorption of air pollutants. Insects are the base of many food chains, and key for the pollination and for the dispersion of seeds. Coral reefs and mangroves protect from cyclones and tsunamis, causing waves to break offshore and soaking up wave energy.

But, Biodiversity is in danger due to the human activity that disturb the ecosystems. As the human population rises, wild areas are used to create farmland, housing and industrial spaces. Pollution, unsustainable hunting and fishing, water extraction, and global trade, are also other main threats to the balance of life on our planet. The loss of species is a dramatically irreversible process and the extinction rate now is estimated to be about 1,000 times higher than before humans dominated the planet.

Increasing protected areas and performing a sustainable use and management of non-protected areas are essential for the maintenance of biodiversity. But the protection of ecosystems is also in the hands of each one of us. Most territories are cleared for the production of cattle, soy, palm oil, or wood. Reducing the consumption of these products, choosing sustainable options, and diminishing waste of consumer goods have a positive impact on the preservation of biodiversity.

Image Credits: Scotty Turner, Unsplash.


Director of ICBAS participates in a public hearing at the European Parliament

On February 28, 2023, the director of ICBAS, Professor Henrique Cyrne Carvalho, participated in a public hearing on One Health in the European Parliament, in Brussels.

The session “Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned and recommendations for the future”, aimed to discuss the link between the accelerated loss of biodiversity and the spread of zoonoses such as COVID-19, and their impacts on health human. The objective of this hearing was to gather contributions on how the European Union can implement the One Health One Health in its policies.

Prof. Henrique Cyrne Carvalho at the session “Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned and recommendations for the future”.

For Prof. Henrique Cyrne “This was a unique opportunity to share the One Health plan of action that we have in course at ICBAS and, above all, to contribute to our local action to reflect on the implementation of actions of global impact, notably through the European Union”. 

Watch and hear the full session here.


Photography Exhibition ‘Perspective(s) on One Health’ at Alcochete City Hall

This is a selection of images that portray the integrated vision of Health that ICBAS has been promoting. It is a result of the homonymous photography contest that took place in March and April 2022.

The photography contest 'Perspective(s) on One Health' intended to promote the dissemination of the concept in the U. Porto academic community. Around 250 images were received, of which ICBAS, together with the Portuguese Institute of Photography (IPF), a partner in this project, selected 20 for a traveling exhibition which could be visited in several places in the city of Porto.

The exhibition can now be visited, for the first time, outside Porto, at the Municipal Gallery of Alcochete City Council, between April 6 and 27, 2023 (Paços do Concelho – Largo de São João 5 – Alcochete). Free entrance.

This exhibition is an opportunity to promote a joint reflection on the One Health concept, as well as to alert civil society to the impact we all have on the health of humans, animals and the environment.

More info here.

OH Know More

Avian influenza – how One Health initiative matters!

By Sofia Costa Lima, ICBAS

PORTO - Avian influenza virus is spreading in Africa, Asia, Europe, and America. Avian flu virus is a contagious influenza type A virus that can infect and kill poultry (such as chickens, domestic ducks. pheasants, turkeys, quail, among others) and wild birds (including migratory birds). Significant outbreaks have been raising, since October 2021, reaching new geographical areas and causing devastating impacts on animal health and welfare. Avian influenza can occasionally be transmitted to humans and other mammals. This infection represents a global risk to food security, animal health, and livelihoods for poultry farmers, but also a threat to wildlife on sea and land animals. Besides disrupting the local ecology outbreaks harm biodiversity.

Migratory birds are the natural reservoir for the avian influenza virus. Climate change is influencing migration routes, given the seasonal alterations. Now, migratory bird populations are coping with one another increasing the odds of new virus variants. A surveillance program to monitor the evolution and diversity of variants is crucial to prevent animal, environmental and human health. Addressing the avian influenza virus requires One Health strategy.

Now, more than ever, governments need to invest in local and global approaches that focus on the interface of animal/ human/environmental health to enable communication and preparedness responses for current and future challenges.

Image Credits: Sofia Lima

OH Know More

A One Health glimpse on the pathogenic effects of air pollutants

By Luísa Azevedo, ICBAS

PORTO - It is well known that many chronic diseases occur due to the exposure of the individual to mutagenic elements in the air, water and soil may lead to serious diseases. Cancer is perhaps the most well-known case of a disease where the environmental exposure has a more pertinent causative effect. Cancer is, however, far from being the only example because pollution can also increase the risk of many other diseases. Among these are chronic respiratory problems, skin and cardiovascular diseases. Because we all share the same environment, the pathogenic effect of pollutants can also affect animals, like our companion animals. Under this scenario, how can one adopt a One Health approach to prevent the harmful impact of environmental exposure?

Taking air pollution as example, a simple way could be to reflect upon everyday choices, like travelling. Most of us uses the car, but one can choose to travel by public transports, bike or walk, whenever possible, in order to contribute to the reduction of pollutants. This is expected to aid the environmental health and have a positive impact in the reduction of the risk of acute and chronic diseases that are predisposed by the quality of the air, in both humans and animals.

Image Credits: Luísa Azevedo

This website uses cookies to provide a better browsing experience. By continuing to browse this website, you consent its use. You can change your cookie settings at any time in your browser settings Know more