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Davos spotlight: 'Disease X' threat 20 times deadlier than COVID

Davos spotlight: 'Disease X' threat 20 times deadlier than COVID Photo: "Disease X" will be discussed in Davos, which can be 20 times more deadly than COVID (Getty Images)

The World Economic Forum in Davos plans to discuss a hypothetically possible pandemic caused by "Disease X," according to the program of the World Economic Forum.

A meeting regarding the new pandemic is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17.

"In light of the new warnings from the World Health Organization that an unknown 'Disease X' could result in up to 20 times more fatalities than the coronavirus pandemic, what new efforts are needed to prepare healthcare systems for numerous future challenges?" - as stated in the program.

Among the speakers:

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus - Director-General of the WHO;
  • Pascal Soriot - CEO of AstraZeneca Plc;
  • Shyam Bishen - Head of the Center for Health and Healthcare; Member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum in Geneva;
  • Roy Jacobs - President and CEO of Royal Philips;
  • Preetha Reddy - Executive Vice Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd;
  • Nisia Trindade Lima - Minister of Health of Brazil;
  • Jamil Edmond Anderlini - Editor-in-Chief Europe, Politico.

What is "Disease X"?

"Disease X" is a hypothetical threat. It is a term used among scientists to encourage the development of countermeasures, including vaccines and tests, that could be applied in the event of a future outbreak.

In November 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) assembled over 300 scientists to study an "unknown pathogen that could cause a serious international epidemic." It is believed that the mortality rate from this pathogen could exceed COVID-19 figures by 20 times.

COVID-19 worldwide

In December 2019, COVID-19 was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan. What began as an outbreak escalated into a global pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

By 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the coronavirus disease of 2019 had become a persistent challenge for public health and was no longer an extraordinary situation of international concern.

During the pandemic, nearly 687 million people worldwide fell ill, with approximately 7 million losing their lives.

In late December 2023, the incidence of COVID-19 increased by 52% compared to the previous 28-day period. Following this, the WHO urged the continued adherence to mask-wearing and social distancing to prevent further infections.