WHO prepares list of deadliest pathogens will include Disease X

WHO prepares list of deadliest pathogens, will include “Disease X”


Photo: Jane Barlow/Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that it is preparing a new list of priority pathogens that can trigger pandemics or outbreaks.

The international entity applied that the intention of this project is guide global investment, research and developmentespecially in the field of vaccines, tests and treatments.

In order to finalize the list, the WHO is summoning more than 300 scientists which will examine the evidence on more than 25 families of viruses and bacteria, as well as the “Disease X”.

“Disease X”, the WHO pointed out, is included to indicate a unknown pathogen that could cause a serious international epidemic.

The experts summoned will recommend a list of pathogens priority areas that need more research and investment. This process will include both scientific and public health criteria, as well as criteria related to socioeconomic impact, access, and equity.

“The selection of priority pathogens and virus families for research and development of countermeasures is essential for a quick response and effective against epidemics and pandemics,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

The list first published in 2017 and the last prioritization exercise was carried out in 2018.

The deadliest diseases on the current list

The current list includes the COVID-19hemorrhagic fever Crimean-Congvirus disease ebola and virus disease MarburgLassa fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Nipah and henipaviral diseases, Rift Valley fever, Zika and “Disease X”.

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