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Here We Go: Scientists Are Preparing for the Next Pandemic Called ‘Disease X’

via TIME
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The term “Disease X” was coined to encourage scientists to work on medical countermeasures for unknown infectious threats, such as novel coronaviruses.

The World Health Organization added Disease X to a list of top priority pathogens for research, aiming to enable early preparedness for an unknown disease.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for rapid response to such threats.

“The idea was to encourage the development of platform technologies, including vaccines, drug therapies and diagnostic tests, that could be rapidly adapted and deployed in response to an array of future outbreaks with epidemic or pandemic potential,” the report found.

“The issue made it onto the agenda of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus joining other health officials to discuss it,” the report added.

Efforts are underway to develop rapid response vaccine platforms and tools for pandemic and epidemic intelligence.

However, challenges like weakened health systems and vaccine hesitancy pose threats to these efforts.

The international community is taking steps to update health regulations and create a new global agreement for future emergencies.

Initiatives include a new fund for pandemic prevention, a WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, the Global Virome Project, and a US government initiative for next-generation vaccines.

However, challenges such as weakened health systems, vaccine hesitancy, and potential funding deprioritization may hinder these efforts.

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