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Next pandemic already on its way, Disease X Poses Significant Threat, Kill 50 Million People: Expert

September 26, 2023
what is disease

A UK health expert has issued a stark warning regarding Disease X, a term coined by the World Health Organization (WHO), stating that it has the potential to trigger a more devastating pandemic than Covid-19. Kate Bingham, who chaired the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce from May to December 2020, made these concerning remarks during an interview with the Daily Mail. She drew parallels between Disease X and the catastrophic Spanish Flu of 1918-1919, emphasizing its potential gravity.

Disease X is described by WHO as a hypothetical pathogen, which could be a virus, bacterium, or fungus, for which there are currently no known treatments. Ms. Bingham voiced her apprehension, highlighting the historical toll of the 1918-1919 flu pandemic, which claimed the lives of at least 50 million people globally, exceeding the casualties of World War I. She cautioned that we could face a similar death toll if Disease X were to emerge.

To address the looming threat of Disease X, Ms. Bingham stressed the necessity of extensive mass vaccination campaigns delivered at an unprecedented pace.

Furthermore, Ms. Bingham pointed out that scientists have identified 25 virus families, but there may be over one million undiscovered variants capable of jumping between species. She emphasized that the world had a degree of luck with Covid-19, as the majority of those infected managed to recover. However, she warned that Disease X could combine the infectiousness of measles with the lethality of Ebola, making it highly dangerous.

Citing examples like Ebola, bird flu, and MERS, which had significant fatality rates, she cautioned against assuming that the next pandemic would be easily contained.

Ms. Bingham also shed light on the factors contributing to the increasing number of pandemics. She attributed this rise to globalization, urbanization, and the destruction of natural habitats such as forests and wetlands, leading to the transmission of viruses between different species.

The WHO introduced the concept of Disease X in 2018, characterizing it as a potential international epidemic caused by an as-yet-unknown pathogen. Ironically, just a year later, Covid-19 began its rapid global spread, underscoring the importance of preparedness for such unforeseen health crises.

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