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Another pandemic is ‘just around the corner’, warns disease expert

Chilling warning that ANOTHER pandemic like coronavirus is ‘just around the corner’ – as Elon Musk is urged to help stop the next outbreak

  • Professor Sanjaya Senanayake has warned next pandemic is ‘around the corner’ 
  • He urged Tesla boss Elon Musk to turn his energies to preventing outbreaks  
  • The professor said the Covid-19 vaccine was needed last year and is too late 

Another pandemic similar to coronavirus is ‘just around the corner’, a leading disease expert has warned. 

Professor Sanjaya Senanayake of the Australian National University said the ‘greatest minds’ on Earth including inventor Elon Musk should put their energies into stopping the next outbreak.

The last pandemic comparable to Covid-19 was Spanish Flu in 1918 which killed about 17million people – but Professor Senanayake said another virus just as dangerous would re-appear much sooner than in 100 years’ time. 

Medical workers in protective suits attend to coronavirus patients at the intensive care unit of a designated hospital in Wuhan, China in January 2020

‘In the last 50 years or so, we have seen over 40 new infections appear,’ he told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

‘Our global population is growing, we are impinging more and more natural habitats and interacting with wild animals and our inter-connectedness globally has never been as great as it is now. 

‘Therefore, the next pandemic is not 100 years away – it is just around the corner.’

Professor Senanayake said the world needed to be much better prepared for infectious diseases after Covid-19 killed two million worldwide.

‘And what we have learnt from Covid is that a pandemic is not a niche area of healthcare. No, not at all,’ he said. 

‘When the first person in the US got their dose of vaccine on 14 December, 1.6 million people had already died from Covid. In other words – we needed that vaccine earlier. 

‘We needed that vaccine before the pandemic. Now, that sounds like an absurd or ridiculous notion, but that is exactly what organisations like the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations are working on.’ 

Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York's Hart Island in April 2020

Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York’s Hart Island in April 2020

Professor Senanayake said Covid-19 ‘invaded every aspect of our lives’ and asked Elon Musk, the Tesla boss and one of the world’s richest men, to turn his attention to infectious diseases. 

‘Here is an opportunity before we forget Covid to galvanise into action the greatest minds on the planet,’ he said.

‘Not just the medical minds but Elon Musk and others like him and get them to stop thinking about driverless cars and sending adventurous billionaires to space and maybe focus on predicting and preventing the next pandemic.’ 

‘And I should add – I have no issue with sending adventurous billionaires to space, it’s bringing them back to Earth afterwards that’s the problem,’ he joked.

Musk is working on space travel through his company SpaceX and so is Amazon boss Jeff Bezos via his company Blue Origin.

It comes as World Health Organisation bosses say Covid-19 is ‘extremely unlikely’ to have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Sars-CoV-2 ‘may have originated from zoonotic transmission’, meaning it passed from animals to humans, a team of experts from China and the WHO concluded.

Experts said the early findings indicate that the virus was introduced to humans through an ‘intermediary host’, which means it jumped from one species to another, and then jumped from the second species to humans. 

Professor Senanayake asked Elon Musk (pictured), the Tesla boss and one of the world's richest men, to turn his attention to infectious diseases

Professor Senanayake asked Elon Musk (pictured), the Tesla boss and one of the world’s richest men, to turn his attention to infectious diseases