Dr Farrar believes the world is grossly unprepared for a possible next wave of infections
The world is not out of trouble when it comes to getting through the Covid pandemic, according to the World Health Organization’s chief scientist. BIG!
Renowned British scientist Dr Jeremy Farrar, who has been sharply criticized for his attempts to downplay the Covid laboratory escape theory and his grim warnings early in the pandemic, said there was a “little chance that we could go back in a bad direction” if the virus enjoyed another series of major mutations.
He said that the world has yet to develop a vaccine that prevents infection or a really strong antiviral therapy that offers broad protection against multiple strains.
Dr Farrar gave his grim warning with the warning that, at this point most if not everyone has developed immunity to the virus through recovery from natural infection, vaccination, or both.
Vaccines, although not superior in preventing transmission and infection from Covid, are very effective in preventing the worst possible scenarios including hospitalization and death
Dr Farrar said: ‘The most likely scenario is the current world situation: that with the combination of vaccination and natural immunity from infection, new variants are largely curtailed. My concern has always been that there is another scenario.
“There’s a small chance that we could go back in a bad direction and I think it’s very important that the scientific community and the public health community don’t discount that small percentage opportunity, because it’s unthinkable in 2026, 2027, 2028 for us to go back to March 2020. I think it’s impossible, but we have to be ready.’
The most commonly administered Covid vaccine in the US was developed and approved by federal regulators at lightning speed.
Virologists administer highly effective injections to prevent severe disease leading to hospitalization and/or death in about nine months, a process that normally takes up to a decade.
Estimates show vaccines prevented more than 18 million additional hospitalizations and more than 3 million additional deaths from Covid, but they were far less effective at preventing infection in the first place.
Globally, vaccines are believed to have saved 20 million lives, according to a 2022 study published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The first iterations of the Covid vaccine, adapted to fight the original strain or ‘wild type’ were somewhat good at preventing transmission, but as the virus has mutated into a new, unique and more transmissible variant, the shot lost some of its efficacy, something that became abundantly clear when the delta variant sends the US in circles.
The Covid vaccine, being delivered to the public at breakneck speed, is believed to have prevented more than 19.8 million deaths worldwide
Dr Farrar said: ‘We are not where we should be. We do not have a transmission blocking vaccine. Frankly, we don’t have good enough therapy yet. We don’t have enough antiviral drugs, not just for COVID, but beyond that.’
The next public health crisis may not be the result of another Covid variant such as XBB.1.5, a spin-off of the omicron variant which WHO has named the most infectious.
There are many other pathogens in circulation that are worth watching, Dr Farrar said, including H5N1, otherwise known as bird flu.
Bird flu has run rampant across bird and mammal species and, while bird flu viruses don’t normally infect humans, it’s not unheard of. It has been circulating in the UK since 2021 and it appears that only a handful of mutations are shy of making it easier for people to infect.
Dr Farrar told the Guardian in February that while the human-to-human spread of H5N1 to epidemic or even worse pandemic levels was highly unlikely, allowing the virus to continue to mutate and spread among animals would only strengthen the pathogen.
He said: ‘If we allow an avian virus to which none of us has immunity to continue to circulate in birds and then increasingly, whether it’s minks or seals, enter the mammal sector and therefore begin to adapt, there is a risk. there.’
Dr Farrar’s position as chief scientist at WHO is relatively new. He is the second person appointed as chief scientist after Dr Soumya Swaminathan, an Indian pediatrician, was appointed to the new position in March 2019.
He has had a long career as a clinical scientist and headed Europe’s largest medical research charity, the Wellcome Trust, for a decade.
A renowned expert who is also a leading member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which advises the UK government on scientific and technical matters, Dr Farrar was the recipient of widespread criticism after it was revealed he had helped undermine the argument that the coronavirus originating from the laboratory of Wuhan, China.
A series of internal emails between Dr Farrar, Dr Anthony Fauci and former head of the National Institutes of Health Dr Francis Collins revealed that Farrar made direct edits to a scientific paper written in February 2020 specifically to dispel the theory that Covid may have escaped Wuhan. Institute of Virology.
Dr Farrar pushed through an important change that added doubt to the theory: asking that the word ‘impossible’ be swapped for ‘impossible’ in statements talking about lab leaks.
This makes the last sentence read: ‘It is impossible for SARS CoV-2 to have arisen through laboratory manipulation of an existing SARS-related coronavirus.’
The email, which was published by a Republican member of the US Congress, prompted calls from members of the scientific community to retract his December appointment, which led him to take the job in February.
Source: | This article originally belonged to Dailymail.co.uk