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What is ‘Disease X’ and how is the world preparing for it?

"Disease X" is a name that the World Health Organization (WHO) has given to an unknown future pathogen with the potential to start a severe global epidemic ...

Euronews – “Disease X” is a name that the World Health Organization (WHO) has given to an unknown future pathogen with the potential to start a severe global epidemic.

“There are things that are unknown, that may happen and anything happening is a matter of when, not if,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general, said during an expert panel in Davos this past week.

“So we need to have a placeholder for that, for the diseases we don’t know that may come, and that was when we gave the name “Disease X,'” he said, explaining that the concept was first discussed in 2017 and has recently gotten “attention” online.

The UN agency added it to a list of priority diseases that require accelerated research and development due to their potential to cause a public health emergency in 2018.

COVID-19, for Ghebreyesus, was the first “Disease X” – ie the first unknown pathogen since the term was coined that emerged and caused a pandemic.

“It appears a surprisingly large number of people believe [Bill] Gates is on a mission to wipe out the human species through forced injection with fertility-blocking, mind-controlling or otherwise poisonous substances and ‘microchips’ disguised as COVID-19 vaccines. Some even believe the COVID-19 pandemic was deliberately engineered by Gates and other ‘global elites’, including the United Nations, to depopulate the world.” – Population Matters, attempting to distance itself from Bill Gates, 17 JANUARY 2023

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He said that the goal was not for this idea to create panic, but rather to better prepare for the possibility of new emerging diseases.

Preetha Reddy, a vice-chair of a private sector healthcare group in India, told the same Davos panel that while the name Disease X “seems like a science fiction film,” everyone needs to be aware of it as “it’s definitely a clear and present danger”.

Reddy said that just as militaries prepare for war, healthcare systems need to prepare as well.

How should countries prepare for ‘Disease X’?

Preparedness should start with strong primary healthcare and preparations at the community-level, said the WHO director-general.

“High-income countries were surprised because their investments in the last many decades were on high technology, cutting edge technology in tertiary services, even robotic surgery, but their investment in primary health care was not there,” he said …

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