London , One of the scientists behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is warning that the next pandemic could be more contagious and more deadly unless more money is devoted to research and preparedness to fight emerging viral threats.
In excerpts released ahead of a speech on Monday, Professor Sarah Gilbert says scientific progress made in fighting the deadly virus “should not be lost” because of the cost of fighting the current pandemic.
“This will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods,” Gilbert is expected to say. “The truth is the next could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more deadly, or both.”
FILE – Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford’s Jenner Institute and Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, has been made a Dame for services to science and public health in COVID vaccine development at the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Gilbert is due to make the remarks on Monday night as she delivers this year’s Richard Dimbleby lecture, named after the late broadcaster, the BBC’s first war correspondent and a pioneer of television news in Britain. Annual televised lectures include addresses from influential figures in business, science and government.
Gilbert is ready to call on governments to redouble their commitment to scientific research and pandemic preparedness, even after the threat of COVID-19.
“We can’t allow a situation where we’ve all gone through that, and then find that the huge economic loss we’ve suffered means there’s still no funding to prepare for the pandemic,” he said. ” “Let the progress we have made and the knowledge we have gained not be wasted.”