‘Another epidemic could be more deadly than cobwebs’

A developer of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has warned that future epidemics could be more deadly than the covid crisis.

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert said in a statement that more money was needed to prepare for the epidemic.

She also warned that vaccines may be less effective for the Omicron variant.

“People need to be aware of this until they know more,” she said.

“This is not the last time the virus has threatened our lives and our livelihoods. The truth is that another could be very bad. It could be very contagious and deadly, or both,” she said.

She said that adequate financial support has not been prepared yet to prevent such a situation from happening again.

“The potential and knowledge we have developed should not be wasted.”

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Speaking about the Omicron variant, she said that the mutated spike protein shows its high infectious capacity.

“But there have been additional changes which means that the immune system developed by vaccines or other variants may be less effective at avoiding omikron.”

However, she noted that declining protection against infections and moderate illnesses do not necessarily mean that vaccines will prevent serious illness and even death.

Covid test
Image source, GETTY IMAGES
She noted that the rapid development of vaccines and medicines during epidemics should be taken as a criterion.

She said there was no reason why the world could not develop a single vaccine to reduce the risk of flu.

‘It’s too late’

As a precaution against omicron, the UK government announced on Saturday that passengers over the age of 12 arriving there on Tuesday would have to undergo covid test at most 48 hours before departure.

Nigeria has also been added to the tightened red list as travel numbers continue to rise.

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Mark Woolhouse, a professor of science, says the new rules are too late to bring a ‘substantial difference’ to a new potential wave in the UK.

Professor Woolhouse, a member of the government’s scientific task force, told the BBC that Omericon was “expanding rapidly” in the UK and would continue to outpace the world’s fastest-growing delta wave if it continued in South Africa and the UK for weeks and months.

With 86 new cases reported in the UK on Sunday, the number of people infected with the variant has risen to 246.

Dame Sarah, who was honored with the Queen’s birthday earlier this year, began developing the covid vaccine in early 2020, shortly after the virus first appeared in China.

The Oxford-Astragene vaccine is now widely used around the world and has been shipped to more than 170 countries.

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