THE NEXT pandemic is almost guaranteed to happen and could be more deadly than coronavirus, a leading infectious disease doctor has predicted.
Coronavirus has ripped through the global population infecting over 100 million people and killing more than 2.5 million others. But, the threat to humans could be far worse in the future if nothing is done today, virologist Chris van Tulleken has warned.
He said: “It’s not a question of if the next viral pandemic jumps, it’s a question of when.
“And it’s certainly possible to envisage a pandemic that will be far more severe in some ways than our current experience.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the TV doctor explained dangerous viruses jump from animals to humans.
Dr Tulleken insisted these transmission are taking place more often than ever before.
He stated the way we treat the environment and animals is a big contributing factor for potential outbreaks.
Dr Tulleken said: “And so everything from our food supply to the way we treat our tropical bio-diverse regions to the way we move our animals to the way we treat our wild animals.
“Everything we do is creating more and more interfaces between animals and humans which are allowing these jumps.
“What we know is that these jumps are happening much more often.
We can draw very neat line to pandemic risk, and we know that pandemic risk is increasing.”
The origin of COVID-19 is yet to be identified but was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
The UK remains largely in lockdown as phase one of the grand reopening – starting with schools – began on Monday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four-stage plan to return England to normality, with all contact restrictions removed by June 21.
But, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has urged caution in the roadmap and insisted he would “strongly advise” against shortening the timetable.
Professor Whitty issued an update as he spoke to the Commons Science and Technology Committee alongside the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
He said measures, such as allowing indoor mixing of up to six people set for May 17, carried “significant risks”.
Professor Whitty said that although older and vulnerable people would mostly be protected by vaccines, younger people will not all be vaccinated by April, and they mostly drive transmission of the virus.
The leading medic warned the current data indicated another “surge” in the virus is on course to take place later this year.
Professor Whitty said: ”What we are going to see is, as things are opening up, what all the modelling suggests is that at some point we will get a surge in virus,.
“We hope it doesn’t happen soon, it might for example happen later in the summer if we open up gradually or because of the seasonal effect it might happen over the next autumn and winter.
“All the modelling suggests there is going to be a further surge and that will find the people who either have not been vaccinated or where the vaccine has not worked.
“Some of them will end up in hospital and sadly some of them will go on to die.”