Next pandemic may be worse than COVID, healthcare experts say
- Gilbert proposed boosted devotion and preparation as a solution
- Scientific advances made in fighting deadly viruses “must not be lost”, Gilbert said
- Sarah Gilbert is a co-creator of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine
The next pandemic to break out on Earth may be more lethal and contagious, a scientist and co-creator of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine warned while proposing boosted devotion and preparation as a solution.
Professor Sarah Gilbert, in an excerpt released on Monday before a speech, explained that scientific advances made in fighting deadly viruses “must not be lost” because of the cost of fighting the current pandemic.
“This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods," Gilbert is expected to say, according to reports from Associated Press.
The address may add, “The truth is, the next one could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more lethal, or both.”
Gilbert will be speaking Monday night when she delivers this year’s Richard Dimbleby lecture, named after the late broadcaster who was the BBC’s first war correspondent and a pioneer of television news in Britain. The annual televised lecture features addresses by influential figures in business, science and government.
Gilbert is set to urge governments to redouble their commitment to scientific research and pandemic preparedness, even after the threat of COVID-19 wanes, according to Associated Press reports.
“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,’ she said.
“The advances we have made, and the knowledge we have gained, must not be lost", the healthcare expert added.
United Kingdom lifted most coronavirus restrictions in July after a successful vaccination campaign, but is now waiting to see whether the new omicron variant will cause a setback. It has seen a high number of new daily infections this fall and still has the second-worst COVID-19 death toll in Europe — over 146,000 deaths — after Russia.