UK at risk of epidemic Ebola breakout due to lack of vaccines, reveal MPs

A group of MPs have issued a warning that the UK is ‘vulnerable’ to epidemic outbreaks, claiming that it doesn’t have the ability to manufactured vaccines.

medical research lab

by Hayley Kadrou |
Published on

The Science and Technology Committee put forward the argument that the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak was “undermined by systematic delay”, and that if it was to outbreak here, we would lack capacity to effectively combat it and protect citizens.

In the largest ever outbreak of Ebola in history that occurred in 2014 across West Africa, particularly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, over 11,000 people tragically lost their lives.

While the efforts of volunteers that made their way to danger zones to combat and contain the virus wre praised as "heroic", the MPs did issue the following warning:

"We are also concerned that, in the unlikely but possible event of a domestic outbreak, the UK lacks the capability to go further and manufacture enough vaccines to vaccinate UK citizens in an emergency.

"Existing facilities are degraded and new plants will take years to build, leaving the UK in a vulnerable position."

The Ebola virus is incredibly contagious and deadly 
The Ebola virus is incredibly contagious and deadly 

Furthering this point is the notion that should an outbreak take place around the world, each country would prioritise domestic care, meaning the UK would not be able to rely on international support.

Professor Adrian Hill from Oxford University described the issue as one of “national security”, speaking from his experience of trailling vaccinations for the deadly illness.

Chairwoman on the committee, Nicola Blackwood, expanded:

"A combination of hard work and chance prevented Ebola spreading further than it did, but a future epidemic may be less containable and spread within the UK as well as overseas.

"We must take the opportunity now to ensure that the UK is not caught unprepared when the next disease emergency strikes. Lives can be lost for every day of delay."

A spokesperson for the Organisation of Health has responded to assure that they are already active in taking steps to deal with this issue, noting a £1bn Ross Fund for infectious disease research.

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