Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) had also warned of the risk of a “inevitable” upcoming pandemic known as “Disease X.”
New Delhi : The world is not prepared for the next pandemic, which may be brought on by any of the millions of undiscovered viruses that are hiding on our planet, according to a new book by two vaccine specialists. According to the authors, a pandemic like that may result in the death of 50 million people, exactly like the Spanish Flu did a century ago. The Next Killer: How to Stop the Next Pandemic Before It Starts is a book co-written by Tim Hames, a former journalist, and Kate Bingham, a former chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce. They describe how viruses are the most prevalent and diverse life forms on Earth and how many of them are dangerous to people in an excerpt that was published in the Daily Mail.
“Viruses are actively replicating and evolving more than all other forms of life put together. Of course, not all of them are dangerous to people, but many of them are,” they add.
They claim that 25 virus families have been discovered by experts, each of which has hundreds or thousands of distinct viruses that might mutate to produce a pandemic. They also caution against the possibility of viruses spreading from animals to people and mutating drastically, as was the case with Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and Covid-19.
The Loming Risk Of Illness X
The authors’ warning parallels that of the World Health Organization (WHO), which has previously warned that a “inevitable” new pandemic known as “Disease X” may occur in the future. The phrase was first used by the WHO in 2018, one year before the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe. It is one of the “Priority diseases” on the WHO’s “Blueprint list” that could start the next fatal pandemic, along with Ebola, SARS, and Zika.
According to the WHO, “Disease X represents the understanding that a serious global epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease.” The infectious diseases for which we have no effective medicinal treatments are highlighted on the Blueprint list.Some public health experts predict that the next Disease X will be zoonotic, meaning it will first infect domestic or wild animals before moving on to infect humans, similar to Ebola. HIV/AIDS, and Covid-19.
Pandemic Preparedness Is Required
The Covid-19 epidemic, which claimed the lives of almost 20 million people worldwide, was not the worst-case scenario, according to the authors. In comparison to other viruses like Ebola, avian flu, and MERS, they note that the virus had a comparatively low mortality rate.According to others, the world cannot rely on good fortune to avert the next pandemic, which may be far deadlier and contagious.
“The key fact is that the majority of those who contracted the virus were able to recover. On the other side, the mortality rate from Ebola is somewhere about 67%. With a 60% prevalence, bird flu is not far behind. Even MERS was at 34%.In their final statement, they warn that “we can’t assume that the next pandemic will be easily contained.”
They encourage immediate action to boost the world’s pandemic readiness, including funding for vaccine research and development, bolstering health systems and surveillance, and fostering international cooperation and coordination. According to them, the world needs to be prepared for the next pandemic since it won’t be an issue of if it happens, but when.
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