Sarah Gilbert: The next epidemic could be more deadlier than Covid

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    One of the developers of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has cautioned that future pandemics could be even more deadly than the current Covid crisis.

    Prof Dame Sarah Gilbert, who delivered the 44th Richard Dimbleby Lecture, said additional funding for pandemic preparedness was essential to avoid progress being lost. Vaccines may be less effective against the Omicron variety, she added.

    People should remain wary until additional information is available, according to Dame Sarah.

    She warned that this is not the last time a virus threatens our lives and livelihoods. The reality is that the next one could be far worse. It could be more contagious, more fatal, or both at the same time. She claimed that the Omicron variant’s spike protein contained changes that increased the virus’s transmissibility.

    According to Dame Sarah, lower protection against infection and mild sickness does not necessarily imply reduced protection against serious illness and death. She also called for the rapid improvement shown during the epidemic in delivering vaccines and medicines to become the norm. She stated that there was no reason why a universal flu vaccine could not be created to eliminate the threat of influenza.

    In an effort to prevent the spread of the Omicron, the government stated on Saturday that visitors to the UK will henceforth be required to take a Covid test before leaving.

    Travelers aged 12 and up will be asked to present documentation of a negative PCR or lateral flow test done no more than 48 hours before departure, starting at 04:00 GMT on Tuesday.

    After a growing number of Omicron cases were linked to Nigeria, the nation was placed on the travel blacklist. However, a government-adviser scientist described the new travel rules as closing the stable door after the horse has escaped.

    Prof Mark Woolhouse claimed the new rules were too late to make a significant difference to a potential Omicron variant wave in the UK.

    On Sunday, 86 new instances of the Omicron strain were reported in the United Kingdom, bringing the total number of cases to 246. On Sunday, 43,992 cases and 54 deaths were reported within 28 days following a positive coronavirus test.