UK government seeks to create 'pandemic radar' as Wuhan virus lab theory gains credence

WION Web Team
London Updated: Feb 23, 2022, 12:35 PM(IST)

Morning News Brief Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The UK government proposes to make safe and 'effective diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines available within the first 100 days of a future pandemic threat being identified.'

UK Prime minister Boris Johnson told Parliament recently that his government would be "refreshing biosecurity strategy to protect the UK against natural zoonosis and accidental laboratory leaks" in a move reports say the virus likely leaked from a Wuhan lab.

Johnson told lawmakers that protection will be enhanced "as the potential for biological threats emanating from state and non-state actors." The British government has reportedly asked for evidence before drafting the "biosecurity strategy".

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The UK prime minister told Parliament that the government is on "future pandemic preparedness, including through a new pandemic treaty" in the form of a "five-point plan". The UK prime minister said it would be seeking to build an "early warning system or a global pandemic radar".

The UK government proposes to make safe and "effective diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines available within the first 100 days of a future pandemic threat being identified."

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Reports claim a UK expert on chemical and biological counter-terrorism Hamish de Bretton-Gordon has submitted evidence for the strategy with the UK government concerned about “accidental release and dual-use research of concern, where life science research is capable of being misapplied to do harm”.

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon reportedly said officials behind closed doors in the UK government believe the virus was likely spread through a lab leak with Johnson's government eager to ensure a policy is put in place to stop future pandemics.

Ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, a group of international scientists had said that China should stop blocking independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

A WHO team had visited Wuhan in January last year to look into the origins of the virus in cooperation with Chinese experts.
In a joint report, the experts said the virus had jumped from bats to humans via an intermediate animal while asserting that the lab leak theory was "extremely unlikely".

However, after the report was published there was widespread criticism that rigorous investigation wasn't carried out. The WHO created a new team to look into the origin of the virus but Chinese authorities have blocked further probe into the virus.  

(With inputs from Agencies)

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