Next Pandemic Can Be More Worse Than Covid-19, Says Oxford Vaccine Developer

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New Delhi: Future pandemics may be even more devastating than Covid-19, one of the developers of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has said.

Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic should not be forgotten and the “world should make sure it is better prepared for the next virus”, Reuters reported.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Covid-19 has killed 5.26 million people worldwide and wiped away trillions of dollars in economic production due to stringent lockdowns and border restrictions.

‘Next Pandemic Could Be Worse’

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

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

WHO Health Experts Panel Suggestions

A World Health Organization-appointed panel of health specialists to examine the management of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has urged for permanent funding to probe future pandemics through a new treaty.

One suggestion called for extra funding of at least $10 billion annually for pandemic preparedness.

In late 2019, the novel coronavirus was detected in China’s Wuhan. Vaccines against the virus were created at lightning speed.

Gilbert stated that the Omicron variant’s spike protein had changes known to boost the virus’s infectiousness.

“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,” Gilbert said.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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