Disease X: A UK health specialist has issued a new warning about Disease X, claiming that it has the potential to spread globally and kill millions of people. The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken note of it as well, adding Disease X to the list of “priority diseases” on its website. The unidentified disease has been grouped with other diseases that have already resulted in numerous fatalities during epidemics, including CoViD-19, Ebola, Lassa fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Nipah, and Zika.
What is Disease X?
The concept of “represents the knowledge that a serious global epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease,” according to the WHO website. It might be a novel agent, for example a virus, bacterium, or fungus, for which there are no recognized cures.
Dame Kate Bingham issued a warning that Disease X might end up being more fatal than COVID-19 by a factor of more than seven. She added that a virus already in circulation could be the cause of the upcoming pandemic.
She compared the current threat to human life to the devastating 1918–19 flu pandemic that claimed the lives of more than 50 million people, saying,
“Today, we could expect a similar death toll from one of the numerous viruses that are already present. More viruses are actively multiplying and evolving today than all other types of life put together.”
What kind of Disease X could have?
The next Disease X, according to some public health experts, will be zoonotic, meaning it will start in domestic or wild animals before spreading to infect people, according to a New York Post report. Up until now, zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and Ebola have all caused devastating outbreaks.
According to the research, some people think that bioterrorism may be to blame for the upcoming pandemic. In a 2021 paper published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the authors stated that “The possibility of an engineered pandemic pathogen also cannot be ignored.”
“The release of such pathogens, either through laboratory accidents or as an act of bioterrorism, might lead to a disastrous Disease X as well and has been remarked as a global catastrophic risk,” the authors continued.
The paper also suggested that “zombie” viruses, which have lain dormant in permafrost or other frozen landscapes for centuries but are now liberated by a warming environment, could be another potential source.
Disease X Symptoms
According to the reports, this disease or virus can be like “Ebola”, in such a situation, if we talk about its symptoms, then it can have similarities like Ebola.
The symptoms of Disease X infection can be sudden and include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. These are followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, and internal and external bleeding.
The time from when someone gets infected to having symptoms is usually from 2 to 21 days. A person with Disease X can only spread the disease once they have symptoms. People can spread Disease X for as long as their body contains the virus, even after they have died.
Additional variations that could lead to another pandemic
A new, severely mutated lineage of the virus that causes Covid-19 was being tracked, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which announced this in August.
According to the CDC, the lineage, known as BA.2.86, has been found in Israel, the United States, and Denmark.
Due to the significant number of mutations it harbors, the WHO has already designated BA.2.86 as a “variant under monitoring”.