Future pandemics could be more deadly than the current COVID-19 crisis, warned one of the creators of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Professor Sarah Gilbert assured at the 44th Richard Dimbleby Conference that more funding for pandemics is necessary to prevent the progress made from being lost.
He also warned that vaccines could be less effective against the omicron variant.
Additionally, Gilbert noted that people should remain cautious until more is known about it.
“This will not be the last time that a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods. The truth is, the next one could be worse. Could be more contagious or deadly, or both“.
“We cannot allow ourselves to reach a situation where, after going through everything we have been through, we find that the enormous economic losses suffered have not led to funds available to prepare for a pandemic,” he added.
“The progress we have made and the knowledge we have gained must not be lost.”
“We must be cautious”
Referring to the omicron variant, he noted that mutations in the spike protein are known to increase the transmissibility of the virus.
“But there are additional changes that can make antibodies generated by vaccines or by infection with other variants lesss effective to prevent infection by (the variant) omicron ”, he specified.
“Until we know more about it, we must be cautious and take steps to slow the spread of this new variant.”
However, Gilbert pointed out that reducing protection against COVID-19 infection and the mild version of the disease does not necessarily mean that protection against its most severe form and death is reduced.
He also asked that the rapid progress observed in the application of vaccines and medicines during the pandemic become the norm.
There is no reason why a universal flu vaccine cannot be developed to eliminate the threat of influenza, he criticized.
Creator of the most used vaccine in the world
Scientist Sarah Gilbert, who was honored with the title of lady on Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday earlier this year, began designing a coronavirus vaccine in early 2020, after SARS-CoV-2 emerged. for the first time in China.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is now the most widely used worldwide, with doses shipped to more than 170 countries.
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