The World Health Organization (WHO) is alerting the public about the potential for another pandemic, Disease X, which could be 20 times more deadly than COVID-19.
Health experts worldwide are sounding the alarm about a potential new pandemic known as ‘Disease X,’ as identified by the World Health Organization. This emerging threat has the potential to be 20 times more lethal than COVID-19 and has the capacity to result in the loss of 50 million lives.
Unlike the unexpected onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, Disease X is considered a looming danger that could manifest at any time, carrying a significantly greater impact.
“Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease,” states WHO on its website. “The goal is to be as prepared as possible for an unknown ‘Disease X’,” added the WHO.
“Disease X is a hypothetical scenario where a very nasty disease, which is more powerful than COVID-19, emerges,” explained Kerry Bowman, a professor of bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto.
Kate Bingham, former head of the UK’s Vaccine Task Force in 2020, has stressed the importance of vigilance as COVID-19 is increasingly viewed as a “routine illness.”
She issued a stark warning, saying, “To put it into perspective: the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 claimed at least 50 million lives worldwide, double the casualties of World War I.”
“Currently, we could anticipate a similar death toll from one of the many existing viruses. There are more viruses actively replicating and mutating than all other life forms combined on our planet. Not all of them pose a threat to humans, but many do,” added Bingham.
She disclosed that scientists currently know of 25 virus families, each containing thousands of potential threats that could lead to a global pandemic.
In 2017, the World Health Organization added Disease X to its shortlist of high-priority pathogens for research. This list also includes well-known threats such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Ebola.
The subject was discussed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with participation from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, and other health officials.