By Jonathan Davies

The scientist who co-discovered Ebola in 1976 has warned the Western world that it is "vulnerable" to such epidemics and called for greater investment in research.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Professor Peter Piot said developed nations would be in "deep trouble" if they didn't prepare for future outbreaks.

Professor Piot, who now leads the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, praised the NHS staff who had travelled to West Africa to assist with the outbreak and said the UK is relatively well prepared.

The threat of Ebola and other infectious diseases is one of the topics that will be covered at the World Economic Forum this week.

In an interview with the BBC, Professor Piot said: "I bet everything I have that there will be other outbreaks.

"Our world is getting more vulnerable to big epidemics, because of population expansion, huge mobility and more intense contact between animals and people.

"My concern is that when [the Ebola outbreak] is over we will just forget about it. We need to be better prepared and we need to invest in vaccines and treatment.

"It's like a fire brigade - you don't start to set up a fire brigade when some house is on fire."

He added: "There is always tension between the sovereignty of a country and the need to fight epidemics because they are a risk for the world as a whole… in economic terms, its a global public good."

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