Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 1011–1032 | Cite as

One Health, Vaccines and Ebola: The Opportunities for Shared Benefits



The 2013 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, as of writing, is declining in reported human cases and mortalities. The resulting devastation caused highlights how health systems, in particular in West Africa, and in terms of global pandemic planning, are ill prepared to react to zoonotic pathogens. In this paper we propose One Health as a strategy to prevent zoonotic outbreaks as a shared goal: that human and Great Ape vaccine trials could benefit both species. Only recently have two phase 2/3 Ebola human vaccine trials been started in West Africa. This paper argues for a conceptual change in pandemic preparedness. We first discuss the ethics of One Health. Next, we focus on the current Ebola outbreak and defines its victims. Third, we present the notion of a ‘shared benefit’ approach, grounded in One Health, and argue for the vaccination of wild apes in order to protect both apes and humans. We believe that a creation of such inter-species immunity is an exemplar of One Health, and that it is worth pursuing as a coextensive public health approach.


Ebola virus One Health Zoonoses Vaccine Immunity Shared benefit 



Capps conceived of the idea for this article and led its drafting. Lederman was integral to developing the idea and contributed equally to the research for the paper. The authors would like to thank the following people for helpful comments: Wang Linfa, Paul Anantharajah Tambyah, and Sharon Amit.


Capps is an international advisor to the project: One Health, Zoonotic Diseases and Pandemic Planning: Creating a Bioethics Framework in Singapore; MOH/CDPHRG/0011/2014; Communicable Diseases Public Health Research Fund, Ministry of Health Singapore.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bioethics, Faculty of MedicineDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Sourasky Medical CenterTel AvivIsrael
  3. 3.Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Loo Long Lin School of MedicineNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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