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UK scientists develop ‘Disease X’ vaccines in preparation for potential new pandemic

UK scientists develop Disease X vaccines in preparation for potential new pandemic
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Scientists in the UK are working on making vaccines just in case there’s a new pandemic caused by a mystery “Disease X.” This is happening at a very secure lab called Porton Down in Wiltshire, Sky News reported. Over 200 scientists are part of this team.

UK scientists develop vaccines to tackle ‘Disease X’ and prepare for new pandemic

Scientists listed animal viruses that could make people ill and spread globally in the future. Scientists call it “Disease X” because they’re not sure which virus could trigger the next big outbreak.

Sky News got a special tour of the place, which is run by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). They showed how they’re working in special labs to stay safe while studying these viruses.

Active viruses will be stored in special secure areas at the facility, according to the Independent. Scientists will study viruses that currently lack a vaccine, or those where the process of immunization could be made better. Examples include flu, mpox, or hantavirus.

The head of the UKHSA, Professor Dame Jenny Harries, gave a statement to Sky News. “What we’re trying to do here is ensure that we prepare so that if we have a new Disease X, a new pathogen. We have done as much of that work in advance as possible.”

“Hopefully we can prevent it [a pandemic]. But if we can’t and we have to respond, then we have already started developing vaccines and therapeutics to crack it.”

Expert’s insights on pandemic preparedness: Learning from COVID-19 for future threats

Janet Valentine, executive director for innovation and research policy at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said the Covid-19 pandemic taught us a lesson. “Through extraordinary interventions and public sacrifice, we could slow down the spread of the virus, but not stop the infection.”

“This came with huge economic and personal cost,” she added. “But the most important lesson learnt is that the only way to beat a pandemic is by actively seeking and delivering new vaccines and treatments, the sooner, the better.”

The Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre will also strengthen the UK’s involvement in the 100 Days Mission. This is a worldwide plan made by the G7 in 2021. The goal is to have a vaccine ready for any new pandemic within 100 days of discovering the threat, The Independent reported.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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