By Muslim Mirror Staff
Health experts from around the world are sounding the alarm on the possibility of a future pandemic, dubbed “Disease X,” which they warn could be far deadlier than COVID-19. Dame Kate Bingham, former chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, issued a grim warning, stating that the next pandemic could claim at least 50 million lives, emphasizing the world’s fortune that COVID-19 was not more lethal.
“The next pandemic might originate from an existing virus,” Dame Kate cautioned, drawing parallels with the catastrophic 1918–19 flu pandemic that claimed over 50 million lives. “Today, there are more viruses busily replicating and mutating than all the other life forms on our planet combined,” she added.
Scientists are closely monitoring 25 virus families, each consisting of thousands of individual viruses, any of which could mutate into a severe pandemic. Additionally, the surveillance does not account for viruses that may jump from animals to humans.
Dame Kate Bingham explained, “Imagine Disease X is as infectious as measles with the fatality rate of Ebola, which is 67 percent. Somewhere in the world, it’s replicating, and sooner or later, somebody will start feeling sick.”
In response to these dire warnings, UK scientists have already initiated vaccine development efforts targeting ‘Disease X.’ Over 200 scientists at the high-security Porton Down laboratory complex in Wiltshire are focusing on animal viruses with the potential to infect humans and spread rapidly worldwide. Pathogens under scrutiny include bird flu, monkeypox, and hantavirus, transmitted by rodents.
Professor Dame Jenny Harries, head of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), emphasized that factors such as climate change and population shifts are increasing the likelihood of future pandemics. She stressed the need for proactive preparedness measures.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed the anticipated next pandemic as “Disease X,” stating that it might already be “on its way.” COVID-19, which emerged in 2019, has already claimed the lives of nearly seven million people globally, according to WHO data.