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

Sunday, 11 Mar, 2018

In its 2018 annual review of the Blueprint priority diseases, the organisation has listed this new and potentially unsafe pathogen as part of eight others that could possibly spark an worldwide epidemic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has put scientists and health workers around the globe on alert for a new and potentially deadly pathogen - Disease X.

The mysterious malady is meant to represent a "known unknown" that could be created by biological mutation in the future, World Health Organization said on its website.

The organization further says, though no individual has been identified as affected by Disease X, man-made deceases are hard to be controlled hence the public should be prepared for worse. Or it might be spawned by a terror attack, or simply an accident.

Mr Rottingen explained Disease X could spark an epidemic if it was passed from animals to humans like HIV, which jumped from chimpanzees to humans claiming the lives of 35million people since the 1980s.

It added Disease X to the list after an annual review carried out from February 6-7, warning that there is an "urgent need" for accelerated research and development for the maladies on the list. "This makes it more likely new diseases will emerge, but also modern travel and trade make it much more likely they will spread".

"The intensity of animal and human contact is becoming much greater as the world develops", WHO adviser Marion Koopmans told The Telegraph.

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. The diseases on the WHO list pose a public health risk because of "their epidemic potential" as well as the "insufficient" countermeasures, according to the WHO.

The organization initially released the list of prioritized diseases in December 2015. It should be noted that several chemical weapons have been dropped on civilians during the civil wars.

An unknown nerve agent, for instance, was reportedly used in an assassination attempt last week on a Russian man who spied for the British and his daughter.