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CVM One Health: Protecting Human, Animal and Environmental Health through a Strong Animal and Veterinary Industry

By: Tristan Colonius, DVM, MPA, DACVPM, Chief Veterinary Officer & Deputy Director for Science Policy at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine

On Global One Health Day, we find ourselves at a time where modern technology creates possibilities we could only have dreamed of just a few years ago. Reflecting on the challenges of the pandemic, increasing temperatures across the world, disruptions in global supply chains and commerce, and the ever-present threat of zoonotic disease, it’s more important than ever that CVM embrace innovation. This is the key to supporting a more resilient and robust food production system, helping ensure food-producing animals and their environments are healthier and hardier, and addressing increasing animal health challenges such as zoonotic and animal infectious disease threats. 

Delivering innovative, safe, and effective products to veterinarians, pet owners and agricultural producers is vital to animal health, and also benefits the people who love and care for animals, the health of the public and the environments we share. 

In CVM’s Animal and Veterinary Innovation Agenda we explore ongoing and future One Health efforts to meet these health challenges via innovation.  

We’ve initiated a pilot program to help the development of validated tests to provide confidence that donors of animal cells, tissues, and cell- or tissue-based products (ACTPs) are free of relevant disease agents and will not transmit disease to humans and animals. The validated tests will be shared to allow developers to readily test their ACTP donors. 

We’re using the expanded conditional approval pathway to help bring to market more veterinary products for serious or life-threatening conditions, or for unmet animal or human health needs. CVM has already conditionally approved drugs that are providing veterinarians and pet owners early access to therapies for animals for epilepsy, heart failure, acute pancreatitis, and anemia associated with chronic kidney disease. 

We’re developing a Chemical Contaminant Playbook to detail to how we can respond to situations where animals – especially herds and flocks that are part of our food supply – may have been exposed to contaminants, particularly when these incidents involve contaminants that lack safety data or validated testing methods. CVM and our partners have long worked together to respond to these types of incidents, and we recognize how such a playbook can give new stakeholders insight and confidence in working with Federal partners. CVM will also explore a consistent framework for supporting co-regulators such as EPA, USDA, tribal organizations, states, and territories in circumstances where these contamination events cross jurisdictions. 

Taking a page from lessons learned during the pandemic, we’re proactively monitoring and responding to supply chain disruptions and shortages. Events that create animal food and drug product shortages can affect multiple distribution chains and end-user populations. In recent years we have worked with industry partners to encourage proactive communications with CVM about potential shortages, and I believe continuing to move towards a coordinated cross-FDA response will improve our efficiency in addressing problems and mitigating negative outcomes.

CVM has a wealth of cross-disciplinary expertise, which is bolstered by the experience and expertise of our intra- and interagency partners, international collaborators, state, local, tribal and territorial co-regulators, regulated industries and other external partners. Together, through increased communication, collaboration, coordination, and capacity building, CVM and all of FDA will keep working to ensure a strong pipeline and supply of safe, effective and innovative animal products. 

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