Ebola virus co-discoverer foresees pandemic because of mutations

Prof Peter, director of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, said vaccine production is quite slow .

Published: 10th October 2016 05:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th October 2016 05:21 AM   |  A+A-


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By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: “One day there will be big Influenza (Spanish Flu) pandemic as influenza virus mutates all the time and nobody would have immunity against it”- this came from Prof Peter Piot, who co-discovered Ebola virus in 1976.

Prof Peter, director of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, said vaccine production is quite slow and we need to invest in far more rapid and modern vaccine development.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Ebola and other epidemic threats in today’s world’, organised at Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, on Sunday, Prof Peter said when there will be major mutation, nobody has any protection, immunity against the new type.

“However, it could be that in our lifetime we will never see it. Or, it could be happen in two-years time. That’s the difficulty,” he said.  Apart from the pandemic of influenza, he said there will be increase in zoonotic diseases.

“We have much higher mobility. In other words, what used to be a local problem, could become global or regional. We have the demographic pressure, growing population, close contact with animals which could be poultry and animal husbandry,” Prof Peter said. 

Speaking about the recommendations from past Ebola cases, the co-discoverer of Ebola virus said epidemic preparedness and public health system should be strengthened and that there is strong call for reform of World Health Organization. At the lecture he pointed out how academicians and others did not share data on Ebola. At the lecture, Prof K Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), and others were also present.

90 pc of 50 million people take ARV medicines made in India At the programme, Prof Peter spoke about crucial role of India generic drug manufacturers, and said Indian companies, including quite a few based in Hyderabad, had played a major role in Antiretroviral (ARV) Therapy. He said of approximately 50 million people who are on ARV therapy, probably 90 per-cent of them are taking medicines made in India.



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