'Disease X' likely to be 20 times deadlier than Covid-19, says expert. What is it?

Sep 26, 2023 02:51 PM IST

The World Health Organisation (WHO) dubbed the potential next pandemic as ‘Disease X’ and said that it may already be on its way.

After over three years of small and big waves, coronavirus has now drastically reduced and become a familiar health concern. Now, healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom are gearing up for a potential new pandemic ‘Disease X’. According to experts, the new virus may be deadlier than Covid-19 - which has claimed nearly seven million lives - and may have a similar impact as the Spanish Flu.

A worker in protective suit checks the temperature of a truck driver(Representational image)
A worker in protective suit checks the temperature of a truck driver(Representational image)

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed the anticipated next pandemic as 'Disease X', stating that it might already be “on its way”.

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What is ‘Disease X’ and what do we know so far?

  1. The WHO dubbed the potential next pandemic as Disease X and said that it may already be on its way.
  2. According to health expert Dame Kate Bingham - who chaired the UK's vaccine taskforce in 2020, Disease X may have the capacity to result in 20 times more fatalities (approximately 50 million fatalities) as compared to Covid-19. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Bingham said, “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.”
  3. Currently, there is no approved vaccine available for ‘Disease X’. Stressing on the importance of scientists developing a collection of different prototype vaccines for every threatening virus family, Bingham said that just a head start on vaccines for the deadly virus may help target its specific features.
  4. According to Bingham, while scientists have identified 25 virus families encompassing thousands of individual viruses, there are millions of other viruses yet to be discovered, reported the Daily Mail.
  5. The health expert said that one of the initial actions that need to be taken is to allocate the necessary financial resources. “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,” she told the media outlet.

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