What is Disease X? Scientist who discovered Ebola warns of new fatal infection deadlier than COVID-19
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The scientist who discovered the Ebola virus disease way back in 1976 has warned against a fresh set of potentially fatal viruses among which is ‘Disease X’. He also said that the diseases which are on the verge of spreading could be deadlier than Ebola and may spread faster than the coronavirus.
CNN quoted Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum from Congo revealing how a number of new viruses are being expected to come to light in an act which he describes as “a threat for humanity”.
"We are now in a world where new pathogens will come out. And that's what constitutes a threat for humanity," Tamfum told CNN.
The scientist’s statement comes close to the heels of a patient being infected by a pathogen that has not yet been identified but had symptoms similar to that of Ebola.
In December, a woman in a remote village in the Democratic Village of the Congo (DRC) showed early signs of hemorrhagic fever, following which her samples were sent for Ebola and other diseases with similar symptoms. However, all the tests turned negative makeing the disease a mystery.
Scientists speculate if the woman could be the patient zero of 'Disease X' which researchers say could be more contagious than COVID-19 and 50-90 per cent deadlier than Ebola virus.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a Disease X is the possibility of an international epidemic that can spread from a pathogen unknown to humankind. The disease has been included in the list of priority diseases by the health body and experts opine that it is important we stay alert and fear the breakout of any new pathogen.
According to Dr Anthony Fauci, director US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 'X' stands for unexpected and unexplained.
WHO said it "represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease."
As of now, 'Disease X' is hypothetical, an outbreak that scientists and public health experts fear could lead to serious disease around the world if and when it occurs, according to WHO.
Muyembe has warned of many more zoonotic diseases - which jump from animals to humans - to come.
While the deadly HIV emerged from a type of Chimpanzee and then mutated into a fatal disease, SARS-CoV-2, along with SARS, and MERS are all coronaviruses that have suddenly jumped from animals to humans. Yellow fever, various forms of influenza, rabies, brucellosis and Lyme disease are also among those that pass from animals to humans, often via a vector such as a rodent or an insect.
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta