Vietnam National One Health University Network (VOHUN) in collaboration with U.S. Department of Defense Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) hosted the 3rd monthly series of One Health Biorisk Management case-based learning on June 29th, 2020. The engagement utilizing the Zoom video conferencing platform, brought together around a total of 166 participants: 65 students and professors from 10 universities in Vietnam as well as participants from 21 countries to review the second student case focused on Hypothetical Domestic Cat COVID-19 case from a biorisk assessment perspective. Mr. Christian Cando, the Vietnam country manager for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Biological Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA/BTRP), started the meeting by welcoming the Vietnamese students, the VOHUN team and the guest presenters along with and explained the mission and the outcome of the second remote engagement for 2020. He emphasized the special focus of this engagement is to enhance the BRM knowledge by taking a One Health approach to fight the pandemic threats. The moderator for this month’s session was Dr. Suzanne Kelly from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) with technical supports from SNL team and Mr. Hai from VOHUN.
The session started with a didactic presentation on Risk Mitigation by Dr. Farid Azizi linking the relevancy of BRM concepts to the previous remote engagements in April and May, as well as to set the foundation for the second session. Dr. Azizi discussed laboratory risk mitigation and the hierarchy of controls including PPE and Elimination, specifically in vet cases.
Following the SNL didactic, a case study presentation from VOHUN student teams, comprised of both Nong Lam University HCMC and Hai Phong University of Medicine and Pharmacy, explored a hypothetical case of a COVID-19 animal case being contracted by a domestic cat from a cat hotel and brought back home to his owner. This presentation focused on assessing the risks, mitigation and the collaboration between veterinary and human medicine throughout the hypothetical outbreak. The students presented on how the outbreak began with a cat owner who had been following all COVID-19 protocols for social distancing, personal and cat hygiene took their cat to the local cat hotel service while on a business trip. The students presented mitigation strategies for staff and pets at animal services, precaution measures for pet owners, and a risk assessment of this hypothetical case.
After the student team case presentation, Mr. Hai and Dr. Suzanne Kelly began the question and answer section of the session. The panelists consisted Dr. Jane Rooney, Dr. Amanda Fine, Dr. Adel B. Mohamed, and Dr. Nguyen Thi Thanh Thao. The question and answer lengths for all participants range from 5-6 minutes per question.
The panelists responded in a timely organized manner and provided well thought out answers that were given to them days prior to the event to be able to have an organized discussion. The participants and the panelists were engaged in the video as well as the chat, and from the survey, this session received high remarks and great compliments on the Q&A section of the session.
The current COVID-19 pandemic not only affects humans but also has the potential to affect domestic pets and wildlife. Several countries, including those in Asia and northwest Africa and others around the world have been presented with the challenge of risk management and overall veterinary and public human health dealing with COVID-19, including potential animal cases from domestic to wildlife virus transferring to humans. Currently, there is not enough data or research to conclude animal transfer from domestic pets or wildlife with COVID-19 to humans and vice versa, thus the hypothetical case study presented by the VOHUN students laid the foundation for this remote engagement. VOHUN student teams comprised of both veterinary and medical/public health studies from two universities: Nong Lam University and Hai Phong University of Medicine and Pharmacy presented a hypothetical COVID-19 case with a domestic cat that contracted COVID-19 in a cat hotel. The session included guest speakers from Vietnam, Libya, and the U.S to answer questions and provide expertise and perspectives on COVID-19 in animals and Biorisk Management concepts. Dr. Jane Rooney, Dr. Amanda Fine, Dr. Adel B. Mohamed, and Dr. Nguyen Thi Thanh Thao provided an in depth dialogue on the topic while Dr. Farid Azizi from Sandia National Laboratories provided technical subject expertise on Biorisk Management related to the student health case.