Disease X: The Next Pandemic?
The world is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, but health experts are already warning of a new, more insidious, and far more deadly disease that could turn the world upside down. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, this new disease, called “Disease X,” could be deadlier than COVID-19. In this article, we will explore what Disease X is, how it could spread, and what the WHO is doing to prepare for it.
What is Disease X?
Disease X is a term coined by the WHO in 2018 to denote any little-known disease that could cause a serious international epidemic. The research team has no idea about the nature of the pathogen that could cause this new frightening pandemic. They have no idea if it would be a virus, a bacterium, a fungus, or something else altogether. Since medical researchers are in the dark as to what the new health menace will be like, there may be a lack of any treatments or vaccines.
How Could Disease X Spread?
Disease X could spread in several ways. It might be zoonotic – meaning it will spread from wild animals to humans. Ebola and COVID-19 were both zoonotic diseases. However, some researchers are not discounting the possibility of it being a human-made virus – aka a tool of bioterrorism. The release of such pathogens, either through laboratory accidents or as an act of bioterrorism, might lead to a disastrous Disease X as well and has been remarked as a global catastrophic risk.
What is the World Health Organization Doing About It?
The WHO research team is still not sure what can cause this new frightening pandemic. However, they are convening over 300 scientists who will consider the evidence on over 25 virus families and bacteria, as well as Disease X. The WHO is also working with governments and other partners to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 and other diseases.
The world has seen pandemics before, but Disease X could be deadlier than anything we have seen so far. The WHO research team has cautioned the world not to rest easy and has urged governments to take action to prepare for this new threat. While we don’t know when or where Disease X will strike, we can take steps to protect ourselves by following basic hygiene practices such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, maintaining social distancing with anyone who seems infected or with a viral fever, and ensuring our utensils are squeaky clean.