The next pandemic is “already on the horizon” and it could kill “millions more people” than the last COVID-19 outbreak claims Dame Kate Bingham – the woman responsible for leading the UK’s efforts to find and manufacture the Covid jab.
To prevent and prepare for another health crisis, Dame Bingham is urging governments around the world to prepare for the threats of any unknown disease. In a newspaper column, she warned the world may once again need to provide mass vaccinations for the public.
The Covid expert wrote: “The next major pandemic is coming. It’s already on the horizon, and could be far worse, killing millions more people, than the last one.”
She added: “We don’t yet know for certain what form it will take, just that its arrival, according to global health experts, is not just a possibility but a probability…That’s horrific enough. Even more terrifying is the fact that Britain and the rest of the world have so far done very little to prepare for it.”
Looking back to how the world was unprepared for the crisis when it first unfolded, the expert wrote in the Daily Mail it is “all too easy to forget” how governments were “dangerously unprepared”, with many viewing it as an “apocalyptic fiction”.
She firmly stated we might look back at the crisis as a “walk in the park” and that it was nothing of the kind.
Dame Bingham accepted the job as the head of the new Vaccine Taskforce when offered the position by the then Health Secretary, Matt Hancock. She then decided to take a leave of absence from her job of nearly 30 years as a biotech venture capitalist to work on finding a portfolio of vaccines.
Commenting on the likelihood of a new virus developing she said: “Scientists are aware of 25 virus families, each of them comprising hundreds or thousands of different viruses, any of which could evolve to cause a pandemic. Worse still, they estimate there could be more than one million undiscovered viruses which may be able to jump from one species to another, mutate dramatically and kill millions of human beings.”
Dame Bingham’s concerns about future viruses come ahead of the publication of her new book The Long Shot, which outlines how she procured the Covid jabs rolled out across the UK population in 2021.
Calling for urgent action, Dame Bingham said that the world should sign up to a “Global Pandemic Treaty” to share information among scientists and clinicians to help speed up the manufacturing of new vaccinations.
She warned: “To combat Disease X, as the World Health Organisation ominously calls it, we will once again need vaccines to be engineered and delivered in record time.”
While admitting that there was no known virus that was of particular concern at present, Bingham said that it was the very fact that the next threat was unknown that should concern governments the most.