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Next Pandemic Could Be More Lethal Than COVID, Vaccine Creator Says

Omicron variant’s spike protein contained mutations known to increase the transmissibility of the virus, says Sarah Gilbert, one of the co-creators of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

Next Pandemic Could Be More Lethal Than COVID, Vaccine Creator Says
The advances we have made, and the knowledge we have gained, must not be lost: Expert
Highlights
  • The world should make sure it is better prepared for the next virus: Expert
  • This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives: Expert
  • The novel coronavirus has killed 5.26 million people across the world

London: Future pandemics could be even more lethal than COVID-19 so the lessons learned from the outbreak must not be squandered and the world should ensure it is prepared for the next viral onslaught, one of the creators of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine said.

The novel coronavirus has killed 5.26 million people across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, wiped out trillions of dollars in economic output and turned life upside down for billions of people.

The truth is, the next one could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more lethal, or both, Sarah Gilbert said in the Richard Dimbleby Lecture, the BBC reported. This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods.

Ms Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said the world should make sure it is better prepared for the next virus.

The advances we have made, and the knowledge we have gained, must not be lost, she said.

Efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic have been uneven and fragmented, marked by limited access to vaccines in low-income countries while the “healthy and wealthy” in rich countries get boosters, health experts say.

A panel of health experts set up by the World Health Organisation to review the handling of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has called for permanent funding and for greater ability to investigate pandemics through a new treaty.

One proposal was for new financing of at least $10 billion a year for pandemic preparedness.

The COVID-19 outbreak was first detected in China in late 2019. Vaccines were developed against the virus in record time.

Ms Gilbert said the Omicron variant’s spike protein contained mutations known to increase the transmissibility of the virus.

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, Ms Gilbert said. Until we know more, we should be cautious, and take steps to slow down the spread of this new variant.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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