The Oxford professor who created the AstraZeneca vaccine has warned that the next pandemic could be even more deadly than the current covid virus crisis, which is far from over.
According to Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert: “This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods.The truth is the next one could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more lethal, or both.”
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She also warned that vaccines could be less effective against the new Omicron variant
MSN reports: Dame Sarah gave her warning while delivering the 44th Richard Dimbleby Lecture, named in honour of the late broadcaster.
She said: “We cannot allow a situation where we have gone through all we have gone through, and then find that the enormous economic losses we have sustained mean that there is still no funding for pandemic preparedness.
“The advances we have made, and the knowledge we have gained, must not be lost.”
Along with the vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was one of the main parts of the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme when it began a year ago.
Since then, it has been used in more than 170 countries.
Before COVID-19, Dame Sarah worked on vaccines for more than 10 years, using antigens from malaria and influenza.
She was recognised with a damehood earlier this year for services to science and public health.
The 59-year-old also spoke about the emerging Omicron variant, which has prompted the return of restrictions in many countries.
She said: “The spike protein of this variant contains mutations already known to increase transmissibility of the virus.
“But there are additional changes that may mean antibodies induced by the vaccines, or by infection with other variants, may be less effective at preventing infection with Omicron.
“Until we know more, we should be cautious, and take steps to slow down the spread of this new variant.
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