World leaders will gather Wednesday to discuss 'Disease X' — the term used for an unknown pathogen that could cause the next global pandemic.
At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, leaders from all over the world are set to discuss 'Disease X'. The placeholder term is used to refer to a hypothetical disease that could cause the next major pandemic and potentially lead to a mortality rate up to 20 times higher than COVID-19.
Led by World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the meeting — called "Preparing for Disease X" — will cover the novel efforts needed to prepare healthcare systems for the challenges ahead.
According to the WHO, "Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease."
Disease X was added to the WHO’s list of priority diseases in 2018, which currently includes COVID-19, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease, Lassa fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Nipah and henipaviral diseases, Rift Valley fever, and Zika.
The list is meant to distinguish which diseases pose the greatest threat to public health due to their epidemic potential and whether there are insufficient or no existing countermeasures to handle them. The WHO is expected to release an updated list within the next six months based on the recommendations of more than 300 scientists, drawing valuable insights from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Worldwide, the number of potential pathogens is very large, while the resources for disease research and development (R&D) is limited," the WHO said of the list. "To ensure efforts under WHO’s R&D Blueprint are focused and productive, a list of diseases and pathogens are prioritized for R&D in public health emergency contexts."
According to the WHO, Disease X is an infectious disease for which there is no cure against a potentially deadly pathogen. As of now, I do not know if the actual infectious agent has been found. Most likely, it is a virus, but other microbes can be involved, and I am afraid that the authorities will again use scare tactics to subdue us, as they did with COVID, in the face of a new, looming pandemic and UK scientists are already developing a “vaccine.” Interesting, since we still do not have the causing agent, so, most likely, this product is a messenger RNA drug similar to the COVID “vaccine”. I pray that our governments and their health agencies will not make the remedy worse than the disease.
What type of pandemic could occur?
Experts have long warned that another pandemic is likely inevitable in our lifetime, given the climate crisis and the ways in which it increases the potential for infectious disease spread.
Scientists don’t yet know what kind of disease could lead to the next pandemic, though some hypothesize that it could be another coronavirus.
Dr. Francisco Contreras, M.D., from the Oasis of Hope Hospital and Oasis of Hope Medical Institute, tells Healthnews, "As of now, I do not know if the actual infectious agent has been found. Most likely, it is a virus, but other microbes can be involved, and I am afraid that the authorities will again use tactics to subdue us, as they did with COVID, in the face of a new, looming pandemic." Nevertheless, he says, scientists in the United Kingdom are already planning for a vaccine.
News of this week’s panel sent online right-wingers into a tailspin, with many spreading a theory that leaders are "planning" a new pandemic in order to impose strict rules and regulations on societies — an argument resembling conspiracy theories that circulated widely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The world’s public health leaders are trying to get ahead of the next big possible health disaster to ensure our health systems are prepared to respond.
"Targeting priority pathogens and virus families for research and development of countermeasures is essential for a fast and effective epidemic and pandemic response," Michael Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said in a statement. "Without significant R&D investments prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would not have been possible to have safe and effective vaccines developed in record time."
- World Health Organization. Prioritizing diseases for research and development in emergency contexts.
- World Economic Forum. Preparing for Disease X.
- World Health Organization. WHO to identify pathogens that could cause future outbreaks and pandemics