At a time when the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the recent warning of an emerging deadly virus by the World Health Organization (WHO) has left scientists worried. Speaking at the annual health assembly in Geneva, WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the world needed to prepare for future viruses. He said that it can be more deadly than COVID-19. Not only this, he also stressed on the need to prioritize dialogue to prevent future pandemics. Tedros’ recent warning about the danger of another pathogen emerging with even more lethal potential has left scientists and health experts wary of the next outbreak and scrambling to list ‘priority diseases’ on the global health body’s website. Have given.
While the world is already familiar with deadly outbreaks of Ebola, SARS and Zika, WHO has added ‘Disease X’ to its list of ‘priority diseases’. But this virus has not yet been identified by medical science.
The term ‘Disease X’ was coined by the health body in 2018, a year after COVID-19 started spreading across the world.
Scientists on the emergence of ‘disease X’
Dr Richard Hatchett of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations told The Telegraph that the term is not just a work of science fiction, but a scenario for which scientists need to be prepared.
On the other hand, Dr. Pranab Chatterjee, of the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, spoke to The National Post and insisted that a ‘Disease X’ phenomenon is likely just around the corner. He further cited the recent incidence of H5N1 bird flu cases in Cambodia, and added that public health experts believe the next Disease X will be zoonotic, originating from wild or domestic animals before infecting humans.
For the unversed, zoonotic outbreaks have resulted in fatalities such as Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19.
On the other hand, WHO’s priority list also includes diseases such as Marburg virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Nipah and Henipa viral diseases, Rift Valley fever and Middle East respiratory syndrome.