Daily Express

UK prepping for terror and pandemic disasters

- By Michael Knowles

THE next decade is likely to bring another pandemic, the Deputy Prime Minister has warned.

And there are fears of a catastroph­ic chemical, biological, radiologic­al or nuclear terrorist attack by 2030.

Oliver Dowden said the Government was scrambling to develop “a pipeline of medicines and vaccines” to fight a pandemic.

Ministers are working with scientists and pharmaceut­ical firms to ensure new vaccines will be available within 100 days of a new threat being detected.

A Biothreats Radar is also being establishe­d to detect emerging diseases – bringing together data from government, advisory committees and experts.

Mr Dowden said: “Scientists estimate there is a reasonable likelihood another pandemic will hit us again in the next decade.

“Antimicrob­ial resistance is creating a new generation of superbugs that have already killed millions globally.

“[And] despite the heroic efforts of our security services, it’s likely a terrorist group will launch a successful chemical, biological, radiologic­al or nuclear attack by 2030, the Government’s Integrated Review [shows].” He added: “I say this not to fearmonger, but to emphasise the size and variety of the risks before Britain.”

Mr Dowden noted that the “100 days challenge” for vaccines “would be a game-changer” that “would save millions of lives”.

He said: “There is plenty of cause for optimism – because if Covid highlighte­d something else, it’s the sheer ingenuity of the UK’s researcher­s and life sciences sector.”

The Cabinet Office also confirmed it was forming a new Biosecurit­y Leadership Council of academic and industry leaders.

Officials will bolster Britain’s ability to attribute blame for biological attacks, which will help deter the “proliferat­ion and use” of devastatin­g weapons.

Dr Clive Dix, former chairman of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, said the abandonmen­t of schemes developed during Covid now left Britain “fraught with danger”.

He has slammed the assumption that mRNA vaccine technology, used to tame coronaviru­s, will provide a “golden bullet” against future threats.

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