Scientists put on alert for deadly new pathogen - 'Disease X'

Disease X Is On The WHO Priority Diseases List – What Is Disease X

While we can be thankful Disease X probably doesn't exist yet, the likelihood of it appearing in the future is definitely something we should be aware of, in the hopes we can stay one step ahead of any future threats - especially as we continue to encounter and take over what remains of the natural environment.

It added that special populations such as refugees, internally displaced populations, and victims of disasters, constitute potential victims of the listed diseases.

Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious worldwide epidemic could be caused by a pathogen now unknown.

However, Disease X is not recognized as a new killer pathogen.

The development is contained in the 2018 edition of the organisation's annual review of the Blueprint list of priority diseases.

As to where disease X might come from, no one knows for sure.

According to experts, Disease X, in all probabilities will be man-made.

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The disease joined a rundown that incorporates the Ebola virus, Respiratory Syndrome (SARS, ) Zika virus and Rift Valley fever (RVF), after a yearly survey by WHO. Then, when an outbreak happens, they can sequence the unique genetics of the virus causing the disease and plug the correct sequence into the already-developed platform to create a new vaccine.

However, this year a ninth mystery pathogen has been added to the watch list for the first time. "Just the way we didn't anticipate Zika, we didn't think there would be an Ebola that would hit cities".

Indeed, the lack of access to even the most basic health coverage is among the factors that could allow Disease X to morph from a mysterious possibility into a terrible - and deadly - reality.

"It may seem odd to be adding an "X" but the point is to make sure we prepare and plan flexibility in terms of vaccines and diagnostic tests", the scientist explained, speaking to The Telegraph.

"History tells us that it is likely the next big outbreak will be something we have not seen before", John-Arne Rottingen, chief executive of the Research Council of Norway and a scientific adviser to the World Health Organization committee, said for The Telegraph.

The most likely source of Disease X would be a zoonotic transmission, where a disease spreads from an animal to a human. Changing ecosystems and human habitats have the potential to see a transfer of animal diseases to humans.

As well as the priority list, WHO listed dengue, yellow fever and HIV/AIDS, as being outside the current scope of the list while still continuing to pose major public health issues.

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