Beware of Disease X : an Unidentified Pathogen that Poses a Threat of a Lethal Outbreak, Warn Experts
The World Health Organization maintains a list of “priority diseases” that could cause the next deadly epidemic.
Most of the diseases on this list are already known to us, including Ebola, SARS and the Zika virus, but there are warnings about currently unknown pathogens that could cause what is known as “disease X”.
And days after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Covid-19 was no longer a global emergency, marking the symbolic end of an epidemic that has killed at least 7 million people worldwide, experts fear that “disease X” could be caused by a more deadly epidemic.
The World Health Organization uses the term “disease X” as a placeholder to describe a disease unknown to medical science that can cause human infection.
And as a new pathogen — be it a virus, a bacterium, a fungus, or something else — there will most likely be no vaccines or few, if any, treatments.
Dr Richard Hatchett of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation told the British Telegraph: “This is not science fiction. This is the scenario we need to prepare for. This is disease X.”
The term “Disease X” was coined by the World Health Organization in 2018. A year later, when “COVID-19” began to spread across China, the world witnessed a deadly epidemic caused by a new virus – “Disease X” appeared.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the potential for Disease X is just around the corner,” Dr. Pranab Chatterjee, researcher in the department of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told the National Post. , H5N1 in Cambodia is just one example.”
Some public health experts believe that the next “Disease X” will be zoonotic, meaning that it will start in wild or domestic animals and then spread to humans. Ebola, HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 have all been zoonotic disease outbreaks. However, there are other sources of disease, and “bioterrorism” could be the cause of the next pandemic.
The authors of a 2021 article published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology cannot ignore the possibility of a man-made pandemic pathogen either. They added: “The release of such pathogens, either from laboratory accidents or from an act of bioterrorism, could also lead to the disaster of Disease X, and this has been noted as a global catastrophic risk.”
Another possible source could be “zombie viruses” that have been trapped in permafrost or other icy landscapes for centuries but have been released due to a warming climate.
Other priority diseases on the WHO list include Marburg virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Nipah disease and Middle East respiratory syndrome, among others.
To prevent and control outbreaks of Disease X, medical experts around the world are calling for increased funding to support surveillance and research on potential pandemic agents.
Source: New York Post.
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