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"Disease X" May cause a Worldwide Epidemic

13 March 2018

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.

For numerous other diseases discussed, including Zika, Rift Valley fever (RVF) and Nipah and henipaviral diseases, the organisation suggested that health experts need to focus on better diagnostics.

Along with Ebola, Zika and other well-known notorious diseases, Disease X was recently enlisted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the killer that is potential to trigger deadly global epidemic in the near future. The disease could be sparked by a simple biological mutation, terror attack or by accident.

Experts in World Health Organization has identified "Disease X" as a global threat capable of killing millions in times of an outbreak.

The best way of thinking about it is that "Disease X" is a placeholder for a contagious hazard we haven't encountered yet, but which is virtually certain.

While Dr. Rottingen believes that Disease X, when it arrives, will likely be a naturally-occurring, "zoonotic disease" - i.e. one the jumps from animals to humans and caused by changes in the ecosystem and growing human-animal contact, deadly germ warfare can not be ruled out, either.

Fauci said that to develop these platforms scientists must first study entire classes of viruses, such as the flaviviruses, which include Japanese encephalitis, Yellow fever, Zika, and West Nile virus.

John-Arne Rottingen, chief executive of the Research Council of Norway and a scientific adviser to the World Health Organization committee, added: "History tells us that it is likely the next big outbreak will be something we have not seen before". He added that it may seem unusual to add a Disease X to the list. The mysterious nature of the disease is meant to ensure flexible planning of diagnostics tests and vaccine strategies, so that that they may be applied to a wide range of possible scenarios.

He said animal-human illnesses were called "zoonotic diseases" and become an epidemic when they happen and added: "It is vital that we are aware and prepare". HIV and Salmonella both originated in animals and spread to humans, causing very serious global health issues. This has also brought us in closer contact and closer contact with more species of animals than ever before, exponentially increasing the likelihood of zoonoses. Throughout history, many warring factions have used viruses. During the Cold War, the USA and the USSR explored the development of bio-weapons and perhaps they still hold live cultures of deadly pathogens like the smallpox virus in highly secretive labs. Under Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi military is believed to have experimented with botulinum toxins, while Al Qaeda toyed with anthrax. According to The Telegraph, experts now fear that Pyongyang is in possession of deadly anthrax weapons.

It added Disease X to the rundown after a yearly survey completed from February 6-7, cautioning that there is a "pressing need" for quickened innovative work for the maladies on the rundown. Both the swine and the avian flu pandemics exposed the vulnerability and highlighted just how virulent viruses can be.