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Another Pandemic Is ‘Absolutely Inevitable’, Warns Top UK Scientist- Republic World

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Nations worldwide are attempting to draft a treaty that would allow for a coordinated response to the next global pandemic. | Image:AP

London: Former chief scientific adviser of the United Kingdom, Sir Patrick Vallance has warned that another pandemic is “absolutely inevitable”. Speaking to a English daily, Vallance also urged the incoming British government to focus on preparing for it, warning “we are not ready yet”.

Vallance said it is “great we are having an election” as there are “clearly issues that need to be sorted out”. One of the things the next government must do is implement “better surveillance to be able to pick these things up”, he said.

Speaking at a panel event, the former scientific adviser reiterated his 2021 message to G7 leaders, emphasizing the need for “faster, much more aligned – and there are ways to do this – at getting rapid diagnostic tests, rapid vaccines, rapid treatments, so that you don’t have to go into the extreme measures that took place” during the Covid-19 pandemic. He believes these measures could prevent the extreme actions taken during the Covid-19 pandemic and are feasible with proper coordination.

He said that by 2023 the G7 had “sort of forgotten” about the points he had made in 2021. “You can’t forget about it,” he urged, recommending that pandemic preparations are treated similarly to the armed forces.

“We know we have to have an army, not because there’s going to be a war this year, but we know it’s an important part of what we need as a nation,” he said. “We need to treat this preparedness in the same way and not to view it as an easy thing to keep cutting back when there’s no sign of a pandemic – because there won’t be a sign of a pandemic.”

He further mentioned the World Health Organization’s (WHO) push for the pandemic accord, a proposed agreement for countries to work together to prepare for pandemics, as one of the “steps in the right direction” that are being taken. “But I don’t think there’s enough focus,” he said. If this issue gets pushed off G7 and G20 agendas, “we’ll be in exactly the same position, and I hope that’s an important outcome of the inquiry”.

He pointed out issues with the speed and efficiency of inquiries and said we have “got to work out a better way” of doing them. Although Vallance believes it’s time for an election, he praised the outgoing government’s anti-smoking bill and expressed disappointment that it won’t pass before the election. “I think it needs to be picked up rapidly afterwards,” he said. 
 

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