Sarah Gilbert says lessons from the current health crisis should not be lost and insists on caution as new variant tears through Britain.
Future pandemics could be even more deadly than COVID-19, so lessons learned from the outbreak should not be wasted and the world should be prepared for the next viral attack, says one of the creators of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccine at Oxford University, said in the Richard Dimbleby lecture that the world needs to make sure it is better prepared for the next virus, according to the BBC.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the new coronavirus killed 5.26 million people around the world, wiped out trillions of dollars in economic output and turned billions of people upside down.
“The truth is that the next one could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more deadly, or both, ”Gilbert said. “This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods.”
“The progress we have made, and the knowledge we have gained, must not be lost,” she said.
Attempts to end Covid-19 pandemic was unequal and fragmented, characterized by limited access to vaccines in low-income countries while the “healthy and rich” in rich countries get reinforcements, health experts say.
A panel of health experts set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) to review the handling of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic called for permanent funding and a greater capacity to investigate pandemics through a new treaty .
One proposal was for new funding of at least $ 10 billion a year for pandemic preparedness.
The COVID-19 outbreak was detected in China for the first time at the end of 2019. Vaccines have been developed against the virus in record time.
Gilbert said the Omicron variant’s nail protein contained mutations that are known to increase the transmissibility of the virus.
“There are additional changes that could mean that antibodies caused by the vaccines, or by infection with other variants, may be less effective at preventing infection with Omicron,” Gilbert said.
“Until we know more, we need to be careful and take steps to slow down the spread of this new variant.”
The variant spread rapidly across the UK, prompting calls for lock-in of scientists and observers as some politicians and sections of society recommended a wait-and-see approach.
About 170,000 people have died with COVID-19 cited on their death certificates in the UK since the pandemic began, one of the world’s worst tolls.