What is Disease X? WHO Warns of a Deadlier Pandemic
Disease X might be deadlier than COVID (Image via WHO)

The World Health Organisation recently said the next pandemic must be anticipated. It can potentially be “even deadlier” than the COVID-19 epidemic. During a meeting of the World Health Assembly on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, shed some light on an apparent upcoming pandemic. He said that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.

Dr. Adhanom issued a stark warning. “Pandemics are still a threat,” he said. “The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains,” he stated. He added that the chance of a new pandemic is extremely real and has a deadlier potential.

“Disease X” might outrank COVID in terms of deadliness 

While the coronavirus period continues to plague humanity, an “unknown” threat is ready to start the “next pandemic” in some remote locations. It’s “Disease X,” and the X-factor of this illness is that nothing is known about it. Although it isn’t technically a “disease,” scientists are researching it to understand the potential for the next pandemic better.

The World Health Organization has selected ‘priority’ infectious diseases that are likely to be the source of the next “much deadlier” pandemic. This is because of their propensity to spread and lack of protective measures.

Despite the World Health Organization’s announcement that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a health emergency, the atmosphere at the most recent World Health Assembly was neither happy nor more upbeat.

When the next pandemic comes knocking- and it will,” Tedros Adhanom stated in a speech to the WHO’s member states, “We must be ready to answer decisively, collectively and equitably.He adds, “We cannot kick this can down the road. We do not make the changes that must be made, then who will? And if we do not make them now, then when?”

Reuters reports that while giving these dire warnings, Tedros praised the recent decision by WHO member states to draw a pandemic treaty and approve a budget increase.

A prominent physician’s remarks regarding “Disease X” brought numerous questions and the fictitious illness into the spotlight. A Congolese microbiologist named Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum also issued a similar warning. He was famous for discovering the Ebola virus in 1976. He stated that “new deadly viruses are set to hit as medics fear new Disease X.” According to a CNN story, he warned that new, potentially lethal diseases are developing from Africa’s tropical rainforests.

On the other hand, Pranab Chatterjee told the National Post that “it is not an exaggeration to say that there is potential of a Disease X event just around the corner.” He is a  researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

What do we know about “Disease X”?

According to WHO, “Disease X” alludes to a sickness that has not yet been identified. However, it has the potential to become a pandemic in the future. Knowing nothing about “Disease X” is the scariest part. No one can be absolutely certain of its cause, its effect, or its deadliness.

Experts expect the next pandemic to be zoonotic and for it to originate in animals before “spilling over” to people. Zoonotic illnesses include COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and Ebola.

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Bias Sinha is a Writer at Spiel Times. She is an introvert who is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Education. Moreover, she used to work as a freelance content writer. She is interested in books, old movies, and K-dramas. In her leisure time, she likes to read, make DIY crafts, create scrapbooks, watch series and spend time with her fur baby. Furthermore, she is also writing her own book.