What is Disease X? How to tackle the next pandemic?

Discussion at Davos

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a panel of health industry leaders discussed the importance of preplanning for the outbreak of a hypothetical “Disease X”.

What is Disease X?

Disease X is not a specific disease but is the name given to a potential novel infectious agent.

It represents an illness which is currently unknown but could pose a serious microbial threat to humans in the future.

What are the most common symptoms of this virus?

– Fever or chills. – A dry cough and shortness of      breath. – Feeling very tired. – Muscle or body aches. – Headache. – A loss of taste or smell. – Sore throat. – Congestion.

How much damage could Disease X cause?

The WHO has warned that Disease X could result in 20 times more fatalities than COVID-19.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:

Of course, there are some people who say this may create panic. It’s better to anticipate something that may happen because it has happened in our history many times, and prepare for it.

Michel Demare, Chair of the board at AstraZeneca said:

The company is working to carry out an assessment of health systems across the world to present recommendations for pandemic management.

Preetha Reddy, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals highlighted about:

Inequity at the G20 forum, and that using technology to reach rural populations in India is a key focus of current planning.

How do we prepare for a pandemic?

This involves international cooperation, including on R&D, and the development of country-level initiatives such as tentative response plans in the event of an outbreak of a new disease.