The next major pandemic is coming. It’s already on the horizon, and could be far worse — killing millions more people — than the last one.
We don’t yet know for certain what form it will take — just that its arrival, according to global health experts, is not just a possibility but a probability.
That’s horrific enough. Even more terrifying is the fact that Britain and the rest of the world have so far done very little to prepare for it.
To combat Disease X — as the World Health Organisation ominously calls it — we will once again need vaccines to be engineered and delivered in record time. But, as things stand, there is absolutely no guarantee that will happen.
By contrast, we may well look back at the Covid-19 crisis as a walk in the park — and of course it was nothing of the kind.
Today, it’s all too easy to forget that governments around the world were dangerously unprepared for a global health crisis; indeed many viewed it as the stuff of apocalyptic fiction.
Let me remind you of the state we were in by May 2020. The outlook was unremittingly bleak: infections and deaths were mounting inexorably and hospitals were at breaking-point. The pandemic had ruptured economic activity more than any recession.
Mass vaccination was the only credible solution, but no human coronavirus vaccine had ever been approved, let alone one for Covid-19. Worse, the historic success rate for any new vaccines, from lab to jab, was a deeply depressing 10 per cent. So the scale of the challenge was stupendous.
It was in May that the then Health Secretary Matt Hancock phoned me out of the blue, asking me to become head of the new Vaccine Taskforce. I immediately took leave of absence from my job of nearly 30 years as a biotech venture capitalist — dealing with the development of new drugs — to work on finding a portfolio of vaccines, in the hope that at least one would be effective.
This is punishment for our blowing off the latest set of vaccines for a COVID variant, which consequently pretty much vanished. You can bet the WEF is behind it.