British Society for Immunology says world needs to be better prepared for the next pandemic
Long-term strategic investment in vaccine research is crucial to counter current and emerging threats such as the coronavirus, a report has said.
The British Society for Immunology’s 29 April report, Protecting the world, says that while the global response to Covid-19 has been “impressive”, it also highlighted the need for the world to be better prepared for the next pandemic.
“There is an urgent need to support and fund global capabilities in immunology, modelling, diagnostics and vaccination against all infectious diseases—including the ones we don’t even know about yet,” it said.
“Typically, when infectious diseases fade from the headlines, the funding for research dries up too,” it added. “If intensive research into coronavirus infections like SARS and MERS had continued in the wake of past outbreaks, we might have been better equipped for tackling Covid-19.”
Arne Akbar, president of the British Society for Immunology said that the UK has been at the forefront of vaccine research for the past 200 years, “with innovations from these shores saving many millions of lives around the world”.
“However,” he added, “we cannot be complacent…we must continue to innovate and support our world-leading institutions and researchers in their efforts to develop vaccines against a wider range of diseases.
“We are sure to face more outbreaks of new infectious diseases in the future. To put us in the best position to respond quickly, we need to continue to invest now and fund a wide variety of vaccine research so that should the worst happen, the UK and the world is ready to respond.”
The report cites a number of case studies and lessons learnt relating to vaccine research in the UK and globally.