Just at the time when the deadly Covid-19 pandemic – which took millions of lives – has come to an end, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of an even deadlier virus- ‘Disease X’. World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has given a warning about this epidemic in a recent meeting of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
In this meeting, Tedros warned that ‘another epidemic can come at any time, which can spread a terrible disease and can also kill a large number of people. We must be collectively prepared to face it.’ The WHO has identified some infectious diseases that could cause the next pandemic. These diseases include the Ebola virus, Marburg, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Covid-19, Zika, and perhaps the most dreaded, Disease X.
Disease X – a disease or just a term?
What is Disease X is not a disease but a term. It can be the worst disease. The term Disease X is used by the WHO as a placeholder to describe a disease that results from human infection and is currently unknown to medical science. ‘Disease X’ can be a disease that can turn into a terrible epidemic in the future and scientists have no knowledge about it.
Why the term ‘Disease X’?
The Coronavirus was also ‘Disease X’ earlier. WHO used the term ‘Disease X’ for the first time in 2018. Later ‘Disease X’ was replaced by Covid-19. The same will happen next time when an epidemic is known then the existing ‘Disease X’ will be replaced by the new name of that disease.
Why are scientists worried about ‘Disease X’?
Disease X will emerge as a deadly disease in the coming times, the WHO chief has said already. That’s why people need to be alert from now on in view of their health. There is also a concern that when Coronavirus came, no medicine or vaccine was available in India for its treatment. In the same way, no medicine is being used for ‘Disease X’ at this time.
Nature of Virus: Disease X Will Emerge From Wild Or Domestic Animals
Experts believe that the next Disease X will be zoonotic, meaning it will originate in wild or domestic animals. Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19 were zoonotic outbreaks. However, no accurate prediction can be made about Disease X at this time. At the same time, some experts regarding Disease X also believe that the next epidemic can spread due to any virus or bacteria. It is also believed that Disease X can also arise due to an accident or biological attack in a laboratory.
What can be done about Disease X?
There is no need for people to panic about Disease X. To prevent and combat its outbreak, medical experts from all over the world are taking all possible measures, research, and monitoring. Overall, experts believe that the Covid-19 pandemic is not the first or the last disease to wreak havoc on the world. The world needs to prepare for the next outbreak. It is necessary for scientists, researchers, and policymakers to remain vigilant, and continue to monitor and study future potential threats.