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Scientist: Next Pandemic May Be Worse  12/06 06:25


   LONDON (AP) -- One of the scientists behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 
vaccine is warning that the next pandemic may be more contagious and more 
lethal unless more money is devoted to research and preparations to fight 
emerging viral threats.

   In excerpts released before a speech Monday, Professor Sarah Gilbert says 
the scientific advances made in fighting deadly viruses "must 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 one could be 
worse. It could be more contagious, or more lethal, or both."

   Gilbert is scheduled to make the remarks Monday night when she delivers this 
year's Richard Dimbleby lecture, named after the late broadcaster who was the 
BBC's first war correspondent and a pioneer of television news in Britain. The 
annual televised lecture features addresses by influential figures in business, 
science and government.

   Gilbert is set to call on governments to redouble their commitment to 
scientific research and pandemic preparedness, even after the threat of 
COVID-19 wanes.

   "We cannot allow a situation where we have gone through all we have gone 
through, and then find that the enormous economic losses we have sustained mean 
that there is still no funding for pandemic preparedness,'' she said. "The 
advances we have made, and the knowledge we have gained, must not be lost."

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