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12 March 2018, 02:01 | Lena Norman
Disease X is a mystery pathogen that has been added to the WHO’s blueprint for the first time
Scientists warn that an unknown "Disease X" poses a major health risk and could cause a "serious global epidemic" in the future.
Of the nine diseases that made the list, one of the most worrying is simply known as "Disease X".
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.
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.
The statement went on to explain that adding it to the list should help promote and guide "research and development preparedness that is relevant for an unknown Disease X as far as possible".
"It may seem unusual to be adding an "X" but the point is to make sure we prepare and plan flexibly in terms of vaccines and diagnostic tests".
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. 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".
Experts have warned that a mysterious, unknown disease could become a global threat that wipes out out millions of humans. Ebola is also a zoonosis.
"It is probably the greatest risk".
More importantly, this list of diseases are ones to avoid.
It could be triggered by a biologic mutation, passed to humans from animals, or man-made - such as a side-effect from a major accident or terror attack using advanced weaponry.
The idea behind the fact that the Disease X is included on the list is not meant to frighten individuals, yet to goad public health authorities into ensuring that they are set up for all kinds of dangers, not only the anticipated ones.
The WHO says it omitted several groups of diseases, such as hemorrhagic fevers and emergent non-polio enteroviruses from its priority list. 'Not just the predictable diseases, ' said the World Health Organization during the second annual review on February 7, 2018.
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