"Disease X" May cause a Worldwide Epidemic

Pandemic medical worker and skulls

Following the second annual review of the Blueprint list at its Geneva headquarters, World Health Organization experts have included Disease X, caused by such a newfound pathogen, on their list.

It added that special populations such as refugees, internally displaced populations, and victims of disasters, constitute potential victims of the listed diseases.

Scientists warn that an unknown "Disease X" poses a major health risk and could cause a "serious worldwide epidemic" in the future.

Warning that the conditions may be ripe for Disease X, World Health Organization is urging "cross-cutting R&D preparedness" to enable preparations for the outbreak of known diseases to also be relevant for a Disease X scenario, insofar as this is possible.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed details about "Disease X" in its second annual review of priority diseases. It could be triggered by "a pathogen now unknown to cause human disease".

At any given time, a potentially deadly global pandemic could explode and destroy a large part of humanity.

WHO's list features diseases which can affect the entire planet, including the Zika virus, Lassa fever, SARS and the Ebola virus, which claimed over 11,000 lives in West Africa between 2013 and 2016.

"Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious global epidemic could be caused by a pathogen now unknown to cause human disease". According to a statement explaining the R&D Blueprint, "Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious worldwide epidemic could be caused by a pathogen now unknown to cause human disease".

"It may seem unusual to be adding an "X" but the point is make sure we prepare and plan flexibly in terms of vaccines and diagnostic tests".

"This is not an exhaustive list, nor does it indicate the most likely causes of the next epidemic", the World Health Organization said. Rottingen also emphasised the need to develop "systems that will allow us to create countermeasures at speed".

The most likely source of Disease X would be a zoonotic transmission, where a disease spreads from an animal to a human. This has also brought us in closer contact and closer contact with more species of animals than ever before, exponentially increasing the likelihood of zoonoses. "It is a natural process and it is vital that we become aware of it and prepare ourselves". But its imminent and allegedly unavoidable threat has earned it a place on WHO's "most dangerous" list: a catalog of potential future epidemics against which we are unprepared.

"It is probably the greatest risk".

Related news: