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WEF is ‘Preparing for Disease X’

WEF Preparing for Disease X
Source: Pixabay

The World Health Organization has issued recent warnings about an unknown “Disease X” that could lead to 20 times more fatalities than COVID-19.

Insights from the WEF’s “Preparing for Disease X” session

The session “Preparing for Disease X” is part of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. The WEF focuses on a long-term strategy for climate, nature, and energy. The session is scheduled for January 17, 2024, from 11:30 to 12:15 CET.

The public speakers for the session are:

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO
  • Shyam Bishen, Head, Centre for Health and Healthcare; WEF Geneva
  • Roy Jakobs, President and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Philips
  • Preetha Reddy, Executive Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd
  • Nisia Trindade Lima, Minister of Health, Ministry of Health of Brazil
  • Michel DemarĂ©, Chair of the Board, AstraZeneca Plc

Additionally, in a November 2022 update, the WHO brought together more than 300 scientists to examine evidence related to over 25 virus families and bacteria, including “Disease X.” This term is used to signify an unknown pathogen that could lead to a significant global epidemic.

“Disease X” is a somewhat mysterious term for an illness caused by a currently unknown but serious microbial threat, as per UNMC. In 2017, the WHO included Disease X in a shortlist of top-priority pathogens for research, alongside well-known diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Ebola.

Disease X and the WHO’s proactive approach to research and development

The COVID-19 pandemic, triggered by a novel coronavirus in 2019, is an example of a Disease X, according to WHO. These diseases are believed to originate from the vast pool of viruses circulating in wildlife. They pose a potential risk to humans by crossing over and causing infections to which people have no immunity.

Moreover, the WHO aims to be well-prepared with research and development (R&D) efforts in advance for an unknown disease, allowing for early response.

In response, the WHO established an R&D Blueprint to fast-track the development of various tools for “priority diseases.” The current list includes diseases like COVID-19, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease, and Marburg virus disease. Lassa fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), SARS, Nipah and henipaviral diseases, Rift Valley fever, and Zika are also on the list.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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