Next pandemic could be more lethal than COVID, warns AstraZeneca creator

One of the creators of the AstraZeneca vaccine has warned that the next pandemic could be even more lethal than COVID.

Vaccinologist Sarah Gilbert, one of the creators of the AstraZeneca vaccine, has warned that future pandemics may be even more lethal than the current COVID crisis, meaning that more funding and preparation are essential.

“This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods,” said Gilbert, speaking at the renowned Richard Dimbleby Lecture in Oxford. The lecture will be broadcast by the BBC, but clips have been released ahead of time. “The truth is, the next one could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more lethal, or both,” she added.

Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University, insisted that we must use what we have learned throughout the current COVID pandemic to prepare for the future, insisting that “the advances we have made and the knowledge we have gained must not be lost.”

Regarding the Omicron variant, Gilbert warned that due to its mutations, the virus seems to spread more easily and the vaccines may possibly be less effective at preventing infection. However, this does not mean that they are any less effective at reducing the probability of serious illness or death.

“Until we know more we should be cautious and take steps to slow down the spread of this new variant”, she advised.

Gilbert’s lecture coincides with the new restrictions implemented by the UK government to reduce the spread of the virus, such as mandatory use of masks on public transport and in shops, and PCR tests for all travellers who arrive in the country, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

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Tamsin Brown

Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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