'Disease X' to be discussed at World Economic Forum in Davos - but what is it?

'Disease X' to be discussed at World Economic Forum in Davos - but what is it?

Related video: What is 'Disease X'?

India Times / VideoElephant

As the Covid pandemic continues, medical experts are researching diseases with the potential to cause a public health crisis on a much greater scale, with the mysterious ‘Disease X’ being the name given by the World Health Organization (WHO) to describe “an unknown pathogen that could cause a serious international epidemic”.

The “priority disease” is currently listed alongside other infections such as Covid-19, Ebola, Zika (which hit headlines around the Rio 2016 Olympic Games) and Lassa fever (which claimed the life of one UK citizen in February last year).

Dr Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, said in November 2022: “Targeting priority pathogens and virus families for research and development of countermeasures is essential for a fast and effective epidemic and pandemic response.

“Without significant [research and development] investments prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would not have been possible to have safe and effective vaccines developed in record time.”

In fact, Disease X has also caught the attention of the World Economic Forum (the international organisation comprising political, business and cultural leaders, often abbreviated to WEF), as the annual Davos conference has a session on “preparing” for the unknown illness on Wednesday.

The session description reads: “With fresh warnings from the World Health Organization that an unknown ‘Disease X’ could result in 20 times more fatalities than the coronavirus pandemic, what novel efforts are needed to prepare healthcare systems for the multiple challenges ahead?”

Confirmed speakers for the session include the WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Brazilian health minister Nisia Trindade Lima and AstraZeneca board chair Michel Demaré.

Except the planned discussions around Disease X next week have already got conspiracy theorists talking – not least because the WEF’s 2020 theme “The Great Reset” raised eyebrows in some online circles.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, conspiracy theorists argued the initiative was “proof that global elites want to use the coronavirus as a tool to reorganise global societies and economies to their benefit at the expense of ordinary people, with the ultimate goal of a global totalitarian regime”.

In October 2020, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò penned an open letter to then President Donald Trump warning of the “imposition of a health dictatorship” by a global elite which “wants to subdue all of humanity [by] imposing coercive measures […] to drastically limit individual freedoms and those of entire populations”.

And now talk of the WEF “preparing for Disease X” has seen certain corners of the internet brand this as a “threat” and another push for vaccination.

Thankfully, other social media users are on hand to ridicule the baseless conspiracies and explain the logic behind preparing for a potentially devastating future health crisis:

In August, a new research facility was established at the Porton Down base in Wiltshire to research into ‘Disease X’ and other future pandemic threats.

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