The World Health Organisation (WHO) has created a list of priority diseases that can cause the next global pandemic. In the list is Disease X and it is capturing headlines as UK health experts warn of its potential to spark a pandemic like Covid-19, potentially claiming millions of lives. WHO has elevated this disease to its list of “priority diseases,” alongside known threats like Covid-19, Ebola, and Zika.
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It represents the spectre of a severe global epidemic caused by a pathogen currently unidentified in human diseases. This could be a novel virus, bacterium, or fungus lacking known treatments. WHO adopted the term in 2018 to signify the next unknown disease with epidemic potential, prompting calls for research to identify and prepare for this elusive threat. Now, how much should we believe in WHO’s next pandemic?