Scientists put on alert for deadly new pathogen - 'Disease X'

Scientists put on alert for deadly new pathogen - 'Disease X'

WHO's Research and Development (R&D) Blueprint list tries to distinguish diseases that represent a general health hazard due to their potential for starting a plague and for which there are no, or deficient, countermeasures.

The baffling disease is meant to speak to a "known obscure" that could be made by biological transformation later on, World Health Organization said on its website.

Other diseases on WHO's List of Bleuprint Priority Diseases were Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Ebola, Lassa fever, MERS-CoV, SARS, Nipah and henipaviral diseases, Rift Valley fever, and Zika.

Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious global epidemic could be caused by a pathogen now unknown. The disease could be sparked by a simple biological mutation, terror attack or by accident.

"Disease X" may cause a worldwide epidemic.

It is not a newly identified pathogen but what military planners call a "known unknown".

The goal of adding Disease X is not to scare people, but to ensure that the global health officials build the resilience and are prepared for all threads, not just the predictable ones.

Another potential channel of which Disease X can spread is through animals.

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World Health Organization said existing drugs and vaccines need further improvement for several of the diseases considered but not included in the priority list.

So, why include a disease that doesn't exist? The agency also aims to raise awareness about how humanity's choices can potentially pose a great threat to our species. Furthermore, the organisation hopes to put measures in place to prepare for and combat against the outbreak of a new virus. It was the first time when the Disease X has been a topic of discussion.

"It may seem unusual to be adding an "X" but the point is make sure we prepare and plan flexibly in terms of vaccines and diagnostic tests". "We want to see "plug and play" platforms developed which will work for any, or a wide number of diseases; systems that will allow us to create countermeasures at speed".

Where could a new deadly pathogen come from?

The power of animal and human contact has ended up to be significantly more prominent as the world develops. Throughout history, many warring factions have used viruses.

The New York Post had also highlighted that the development of biological weapons is easier at present because of gene editing and highly advanced computers. Under Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi military is believed to have experimented with botulinum toxins, while Al Qaeda toyed with anthrax. It should be noted that several chemical weapons have been dropped on civilians during the civil wars.

Every year, scientists at the World Health Organization create a list of the most likely diseases which have potential to break out into a worldwide pandemic.

TB and HIV have been seen to be growing ever-more drug-resistant.