UK prepping for terror and pandemic disasters
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.