'Disease X' could be the next virus to look out for, scientists warn

Dubai - Experts say more thought needs to go into planning for future pandemics.

By Web Report

Published: Fri 29 Jan 2021, 10:29 AM

Last updated: Fri 29 Jan 2021, 10:41 AM

As the world grapples with what could be considered the biggest health crisis of the century, scientists claim that the planet can expect to be hit by another disease said to be deadlier than coronavirus.

Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, who discovered Ebola virus has warned that a fresh set of potentially fatal viruses are emerging in Africa could hit the planet and he fears 'Disease X' is deadlier than any other virus that has been discovered so far.

According to a report in Mirror, Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, has urged for more thought to go into planning for future pandemics due to the risk of a new disease emerging.

"We are now in a world where new pathogens will come out. And that's what constitutes a threat for humanity,” Woolhouse was quoted as saying in the report.

According to scientists the time to take action and preventive measures is now as another pandemic could be around the corner. Every year, new viruses that can be transmitted to humans are being discovered, say experts.

“That's going to keep happening. It's picking up the ones that are actually going to cause the next pandemic out of this constant trickle of new viruses that's coming along. Occasionally one comes along, so spotting the rare event is always hard,” Woolhouse said in the report.

Asked if there was now a greater appetite among policy makers to be aware of the risk of future pandemics, Prof Woolhouse said: "I'm not sure that there's a lot of thinking going on about the next threat, while the world is concentrating full tilt on dealing with the one it's got.

'Disease X' is expected to have 50 to 90 per cent the fatality rate of Ebola. "We were all prepared to meet the pandemic flu, and we got something else. We absolutely do need to be more aware of these events, but I think this game of trying to guess what it will be is very risky,” he said.

According to another news report that emerged from Ingende in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A patient showing symptoms of haemorrhagic fever underwent an Ebola test, but the doctors were of the opinion that the person could be patient zero of ‘Disease X’, which happens when test results shows negative. The new pathogen could be contagious and can spread as fast as Covid-19, the report said.

The rising number of viruses, experts say, are a result of destruction of forests, animal habitats and wildlife trade.

Photo used for illustrative purpose only
Photo used for illustrative purpose only

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