THE next viral pandemic could be even more severe than Covid, a TV doctor has warned.

Virologist Chris van Tulleken said today: “It's not a question of if the next viral pandemic jumps, it's a question of when. 

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“And it's certainly possible to envisage a pandemic that will be far more severe in some ways than our current experience.”

He told Radio 4's Today programme that viruses jump from animals to humans and cause pandemics -like HIV, Ebola, and now coronavirus, has done.

The expert explained how more contact between humans and animals could lead to a more serious outbreak, as more viruses are passed on.

He added: “And so everything from our food supply to the way we treat our tropical bio-diverse regions to the way we move our animals to the way we treat our wild animals.

"Everything we do is creating more and more interfaces between animals and humans which are allowing these jumps."   

"What we know is that these jumps are happening much more often.

"We can draw very neat line to pandemic risk, and we know that pandemic risk is increasing."

Last year we told of the agonising moment Dr van Tulleken’s twin brother Xand’s heart stopped while in A&E battling Covid – as he watched on.


Telly favourite Dr van Tulleken was working on the frontline when he got a devastating call about his brother, Xand.

The pair had returned to help their NHS colleagues after a decade working on TV projects and would be filmed as part of a documentary.

But during filming at the peak of the virus, Dr Xand fell ill with classic coronavirus symptoms – a hacking cough, fever and temporary loss of smell.

It comes as a Sage expert has warned lockdown is a "very big step" that will trigger a surge in cases and deaths.

Professor Andrew Hayward, of University College London (UCL), said there are uncertainties around the impact of reopening schools and shops.

The infectious disease epidemiologist, speaking to Times Radio in a personal capacity, said these are "very big steps" and "we don't really understand what impact they will have on transmission".

He said there are "very sizeable numbers of people" who are "vulnerable to ending up in hospital and dying".


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