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The Next Pandemic 'Could Be Worse Than Coronavirus,' According to British Vaccine Developer

'This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods,' she said

According to Sarah Gilbert, one of the creators of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, the world should do more to prepare for pandemics like COVID-19.

“This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods,” Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, said during an appearance at the annual 44th Richard Dimbleby Lecture on Dec. 6. “The truth is, the next one could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more lethal, or both.”

Gilbert went on to say, “We cannot allow a situation where we have gone through all we have gone through, and then find that the enormous economic losses we have sustained mean that there is still no funding for pandemic preparedness.”

This statement comes in the wake of other influential voices calling for proactive funding of research and medical development to ward off the woes of viral and bacterial mass infection.

Gilbert was vocal about her praise of industry and government speed in responding to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. She said her accolade comes as a result of quickly developing and deploying coronavirus vaccines. She suggested the COVID response could be a model for other diseases. 

“Just as we invest in armed forces and intelligence and diplomacy to defend against wars, we must invest in people, research, manufacturing and institutions to defend against pandemics,” Gilbert added.

Much like other scientific authorities from around the world, Gilbert said existing vaccines may be less effective against the omicron variant of the coronavirus. She went on to say that while infections may become more common, that doesn’t mean hospitalizations and deaths will increase.

This statement comes on the heels of other recent voices stating that COVID vaccines may have a waning efficacy. 

Moderna’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel, predicted recently that existing coronavirus vaccines would be much less effective at combating omicron compared with previous variants of the virus.

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