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Thursday February 29, 2024

WHO warns against 'disease X' - 20 times more menacing than COVID

Term 'Disease X' was coined by the WHO in 2018, acknowledging the unpredictable nature of future health crises

By Web Desk
January 25, 2024
The logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the entrance of its headquarters in Geneva. — AFP
The logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the entrance of its headquarters in Geneva. — AFP  

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a grave warning against a potential global pandemic that could surpass the impact of COVID-19 by a staggering 20 times. 

Termed as 'Disease X,' this hypothetical threat serves as a clarion call for global leaders to unite in preparation for an unseen menace that could reshape the landscape of public health.

At the World Economic Forum, the recent WHO session titled "Preparing for Disease X" emphasised the urgent need for proactive strategies to prevent or manage a potential outbreak. While 'Disease X' is not a real threat yet, it represents an unknown pathogen that could trigger the next global pandemic, demanding unprecedented levels of preparedness.

The term 'Disease X' was coined by the WHO in 2018, acknowledging the unpredictable nature of future health crises. During the panel discussion, global healthcare experts stressed the importance of global collaboration, calling for effective communication strategies to counter misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding such health threats.

One of the key concerns raised during the session was the need for better communication to reduce misinformation, with experts recognizing the potential contagiousness of false information, comparing it to a virus. Despite the hypothetical nature of 'Disease X,' skeptics took to social media platforms, including Twitter (formerly known as X), to label the session as a conspiracy against freedom.

According to scientists, the most likely source of 'Disease X' would be a respiratory virus, possibly existing in animals and awaiting the opportunity to jump to humans. 

The WHO cautioned that without adequate preparedness, a pandemic from 'Disease X' could result in far greater devastation than the ongoing battle against COVID-19, which has claimed over 7 million lives globally.

The WHO has already initiated measures to protect against a potential 'Disease X' pandemic, including efforts to enhance technology sharing and boost disease surveillance between nations. While 'Disease X' took the spotlight in this warning, it's crucial to recognize that it's not the only potential threat, with other viruses like Ebola, Marburg, and new variants of COVID-19 also looming on the horizon.