Speaking at the 44th Richard Dimbleby Lecture broadcast by the BBC on December 6, Dame Sarah declared that “this will not be the last time a virus threatens our lives and our livelihoods,” urging governments to ensure they learn the lessons from the Covid pandemic.
The truth is, the next one could be worse. It could be more contagious, or more lethal, or both.
Calling on officials to ensure that countries do not have to suffer “enormous economic losses” in the future, Dame Sarah stated that governments must provide proper funding for pandemic preparedness.Without support for scientists, the vaccine creator fears that health officials risk losing “the advances we have made and the knowledge we have gained” from the past two years.
As one of the creators of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, Dame Sarah expressed fears during her talk that the Omicron variant could be able to evade the protection provided by the jabs.
Looking at mutations within the spike protein in the new strain, the professor highlighted how “additional changes” could mean antibodies provided by existing vaccines are “less effective at preventing infection.”
While scientists explore the risk posed by Omicron, Dame Sarah urged officials to take a “cautious” approach and impose measures “to slow down the spread of this new variant.”
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