British vaccine expert warns world must prepare for next pandemic

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(NewsNation) — As the world starts to exit the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce has warned in a new op-ed in the Daily Mail the world must prepare for the next pandemic

Kate Bingham points to what the World Health Organization calls “Disease X” — a potentially extremely lethal virus that could emerge and sweep the world as quickly as COVID-19 did.

“Imagine Disease X is as infectious as measles with the fatality rate of Ebola. Somewhere in the world, it’s replicating, and sooner or later, somebody will start feeling sick,” she writes.

In order to prepare for that possibility, Bingham and co-author Tim Hames suggest a range of measures, from investing in new surveillance of emerging viruses to developing vaccine production capacity in more countries.

They propose the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations serve as the body in charge of coordinating the response to the future Disease X. The organization was launched in 2017 to help develop vaccines against future epidemics. It’s now working on a five-year plan to speed up vaccine development.

Warning about the potential of Disease X to be 20 times as deadly as COVID-19 was, Bingham warns, “The remarkable success of the scientific drive against COVID-19 shows what can be achieved when we pull together. But next time, we need to be far better and far faster.”

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