Disease X, another pandemic, Full Details and Updates

Disease X, even deadlier than COVID, Full Details and Updates: As the world starts to regain some normalcy post three challenging years of COVID-19, the global scientific community remains vigilant about the possibility of another serious outbreak. Startlingly, there could be 1.67 million undiscovered viruses in animals, with almost half having the potential to infect humans. In 2018, WHO introduced “Disease X” as a concept, and just a year later, COVID-19 exemplified this mysterious threat.

What is Disease X

Disease x

In June of the previous year, UK health experts sounded an alarm to their government about a potential threat known as ‘Disease X.’ This concern arose when poliovirus cases were detected in London sewage samples, alongside incidents of monkeypox, Lassa fever, and bird flu, as reported by Reuters.

Medical professionals, as mentioned in The Mirror, stressed that we are entering a new era of pandemics, with the specter of ‘Disease X’ looming on the horizon.

Back in 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) initially identified several pathogens with pandemic potential. They later updated this list in 2018, which now includes COVID-19, Ebola, Marburg, Lassa fever, MERS, SARS, Nipah, Zika, and the most recent addition, ‘Disease X.’ Staying vigilant remains crucial in our ongoing battle against emerging diseases.

Origin of Disease X

Disease X could originate from the intentional use of infectious diseases as weapons. Throughout history, bio-weapons have been employed, such as the Tartars catapulting plague victims’ bodies into Caffa in 1346. Modern advancements in gene editing and computing have made it easier to create deadly biological agents.

During the Cold War, both the US and USSR explored bio-weapon development, maintaining secure labs with deadly pathogens like smallpox. Recent examples include Iraq’s experiments with botulinum toxins and Al Qaeda’s anthrax trials. Even more concerning, ISIS possessed instructions on weaponizing plague bacteria.

North Korea and Syria are believed to possess bio-warfare capabilities. Syria had a smallpox outbreak in 1972 and may still hold wild smallpox strains. North Korean defectors showed anthrax antibodies, raising fears of weaponized anthrax.

While bio-weapon incidents have been rare, the risk of pathogens leaking from labs or falling into terrorist hands persists. A recent Canadian study synthetically engineered horsepox, similar to smallpox, which could aid less experienced individuals in creating smallpox, posing a threat to global health security.

WHO’s identification of Disease X

The Potential Severity of Disease X
COVID-19, which emerged in 2019, has tragically claimed nearly seven million lives worldwide. Dame Kate Bingham warns that Disease X could be more than seven times deadlier than COVID-19 and might stem from an existing virus.

Similarities with the 1918-1919 Flu Pandemic
Drawing parallels with the devastating 1918–19 flu pandemic that took the lives of over 50 million people, Dame Kate Bingham emphasizes the potential havoc Disease X could wreak. She points out that many viruses have the potential to trigger such a catastrophe due to their high replication and mutation rates.

Monitoring a Vast Range of Viruses
Dedicated scientists are tirelessly keeping an eye on 25 virus families, each housing thousands of individual viruses. Some of these viruses have the potential to mutate into severe pandemics. However, this surveillance doesn’t cover viruses that may leap from animals to humans, posing an additional threat to global health. Stay informed and vigilant.

What is WHO’s warning for Disease X?

Official statement from WHO for Disease X is as follows:

“The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains, and the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains.”

Vaccine and Cure development of Disease X

UK scientists have rallied against the threat of an unknown but potentially deadly Disease X. Over 200 dedicated researchers are working tirelessly at the secure Porton Down laboratory complex in Wiltshire.

Their mission centers on zoonotic pathogens, those tricky animal viruses that can jump to humans and wreak havoc worldwide. They’re keeping a close eye on bird flu, monkeypox, and the rodent-transmitted hantavirus as part of their vital research efforts.

What WHO is doing for Disease X

The World Health Organization (WHO) is updating its priority pathogen list, adding “Disease X,” an unknown but potentially pandemic-causing pathogen. This update, set to be released in early 2023, involves input from over 300 scientists, considering scientific, public health, socioeconomic, access, and equity factors. The goal is to direct global investments and research, particularly in developing vaccines, tests, and treatments. The existing 2017 list includes pathogens like COVID-19, Ebola, and Zika. The WHO’s R&D Blueprint for epidemics will guide research efforts, aiding in the development of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics, and facilitating clinical trials for these tools.

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