The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised alarm bells over the anticipated next pandemic, ominously named ‘Disease X’, and suggests it may already be in motion. With over three years of battling coronavirus, which has now become a familiar health concern, healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom are now preparing for the potential onslaught of Disease X. Experts warn that this new virus could surpass Covid-19 in lethality, potentially causing an impact akin to the devastating Spanish Flu.
What is Disease X and What Do We Know So Far?: Disease X, as termed by the WHO, is a potential next pandemic that experts believe might already be en route.
Expert’s Warning: Disease X’s Lethality: Health expert Dame Kate Bingham, who chaired the UK’s vaccine taskforce in 2020, cautions that Disease X could lead to a staggering 20 times more fatalities than Covid-19, estimated at around 50 million deaths. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Bingham emphasized the urgency of mass vaccination drives, stating, “The world will have to prepare for mass vaccination drives and deliver the doses in record time…Imagine Disease X is as infectious as measles with the fatality rate of Ebola (67 per cent). Somewhere in the world, it’s replicating, and sooner or later, somebody will start feeling sick.”
Race for a Vaccine: At present, there is no approved vaccine available for Disease X. Bingham stresses the critical need for scientists to develop a range of prototype vaccines targeting various threatening virus families. Getting a head start on vaccines for this potentially deadly virus may be crucial in honing in on its specific characteristics.
Vast Viral Diversity: Bingham points out that while scientists have identified 25 virus families comprising thousands of individual viruses, there remain millions of undiscovered viruses, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Financial Preparedness is Key: One of the initial steps required is the allocation of necessary financial resources. Bingham highlights the substantial cost of inaction, stating, “The monetary cost of inaction is seismic. After all, even Covid-19 – a milder virus than Disease X – managed to leave us holding a bill for $16 trillion in both lost output and public health expenditure.”
As the world grapples with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the specter of Disease X looms large. Experts warn that this potential next pandemic could be far deadlier, emphasizing the critical need for swift action in terms of vaccine development and financial preparedness. The global community must remain vigilant in the face of this ominous threat.