- Dr. Gábor Földvári
- Institute of Evolution, Centre for Ecological Research, Budapest, Hungary.
Website | E-mail
- Prof. Daniel R. Brooks
- Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Website | E-mail
Special Issue Introduction
Humanity's response to the Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) Crisis has been inadequate. This is mostly due to the use of an outmoded paradigm of pathogen-host evolution that predicts EID should be rare, that changing hosts requires prior evolution of novel genetic capacities for host utilization, and that EIDs cannot be anticipated or predicted to the extent that prevention can be more cost-effective than crisis-response. The Stockholm Paradigm (SP) resolves these shortcomings. EIDs are the result of changing opportunities, triggered by global climate change and anthropogenic forcing, for contact with susceptible but previously unexposed hosts. Novel genetic capacities for host utilization emerge after, not before, infection in a new host. The highly specialized traits associated with transmission dynamics and microhabitat preference (which is associated with symptomology of disease) are also phylogenetically conservative, and thus widespread among closely-related pathogen species. The SP is supported by Darwinian principles, by extensive modeling, and by empirical studies in deep history and real-time. The risk space for EIDs is thus expansive and growing; the planet is a minefield of evolutionary accidents waiting to happen. At the same time, because the specialized traits related to transmission dynamics and microhabitat preference are phylogenetically conservative, they are highly predictable; and that holds out hope that cost-effective prevention, or at least mitigation, of EIDs is possible. The DAMA (Document, Assess, Monitor, Act) protocol is a public policy recommendation stemming directly from the Stockholm Paradigm. It calls for more focused attention on reservoir hosts, vectors, and interfaces of transmission between wildlands and managed landscapes, and better integration of real-time data with baseline information in archival collections, including better use of phylogenetic information. Some elements of the SP and DAMA are being integrated into One Health approaches, but those efforts could become more unified and effective.
Submission Deadline31 May 2022