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‘Disease X’ Could Be the Next Pandemic, Says Doctor Who Discovered Ebola

A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier during a rapid antigen testing campaign for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Gandhinagar, India, December 29, 2020. REUTERS/Amit Dave TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier during a rapid antigen testing campaign for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Gandhinagar, India, December 29, 2020. REUTERS/Amit Dave TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

A new strain of virus called ‘Disease X’ might be on the anvil and experts with knowledge of it claim that it could be a serious epidemic.

Each year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) updates its list along with guidance from all fields of scientific study of which pathogens pose a threat to the extent of causing the next global pandemic. While the world is still reeling under the effects of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, it has also been through other major pandemics of global proportions like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Ebola and Zika viruses in the past decade and half.

However, another new strain of virus called ‘Disease X’ might be on the anvil and experts with knowledge of it claim that it could be a serious epidemic caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease.

According to a DailyMail report, the doctor who discovered Ebola warned that a fresh set of deadly viruses will hit mankind as he fears Disease X which could be as fast-spreading as the COVID-19, and as deadly as the Ebola virus.

Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, who helped discover the Ebola virus close to four and a half decades back (1976), said deadlier diseases are likely to be discovered soon and they could be worse than Covid-19 and more apocalyptic.

Professor Tamfum said, the Disease X is still hypothetical, but it could be deadly and might lead to another global pandemic. There are new and potentially fatal viruses emerging from Africa’s tropical rainforests, the report added.

The report also mentioned a unique case from Ingende, Democratic Republic of Congo, where a patient showing early symptoms of haemorrhagic fever underwent an Ebola test, but the doctors feared that the infected person could be patient zero of ‘Disease X’, which stands for unexpected when the results showed negative. But the report suggests that the new pathogen could be contagious and can spread as fast as Covid-19 and has a fatality rate between 50-90 percent of Ebola.

The professor now fears many such zoonotic diseases – those that jump from animals to humans –are to come. Speaking of such incidences that have occurred in the past are Yellow fever, rabies, and Lyme disease, which are among those that are transmitted from animals to humans via insects or rodents and have caused epidemics and pandemics earlier.

Experts are of the opinion that the rising number of emerging viruses are the result of destruction of forests, animal habitats and wildlife trade. With their natural habitats disappearing at an alarming rate, animals like bats, rats and insects survived, however, larger animal species got wiped out.


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