‘Disease X’: WHO Warns Of Potential Pandemic 20 Times Deadlier Than COVID
New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to sign its pandemic treaty so that the world can prepare for potentially dangerous ‘Disease X.’
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) earlier this week that he hoped countries would reach a pandemic agreement by May to address the threat of the “common enemy.”
‘Disease X’ represents a theoretical, unidentified virus that scientists warn could be 20 times more deadly than COVID-19.
According to WHO, the next pandemic may be caused by a hypothetical ‘placeholder’ virus and might already be “on its way.”
‘Disease X’ was added to WHO’s shortlist of pathogens for research in 2017 and marked as one that could cause a “serious international epidemic,” according to a statement by the UN global health body in 2022.
Asked about preparation for outbreak of another pandemic in the near future, the WHO chief said, “We have already started many initiatives. We have established a pandemic fund basically for preparedness. And some countries have benefitted from it.”
Pointing out that equity was a serious problem when it came to COVID vaccines, Ghebreyesus said several “high-income countries” were “hoarding” vaccines.
“To address the equity problem, we established the mRNA technology transfer hub in South Africa. This is to increase the local production,” he explained.
He went on to underline the importance of a pandemic treaty.
“The pandemic agreement can bring all the experience, all the challenges that we have faced and all the solutions into one. So, for our children and grandchildren’s sake, I think we have to convert all the lessons we have learned into this pandemic agreement and prepare the world for the future,” Ghebreyesus observed.