‘Disease X’ has been listed among priority diseases by WHO. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for urgent measures to accelerate research and development to tackle it. It could ‘potentially trigger a deadly global epidemic in the near future’.

A list is developed by the WHO to identify, prioritize and accelerate research and development for the disease. It is for those who lack efficacious drugs or vaccines and can pose a public health risk.


Disease X” is listed in the 2018 annual review of R&D Blueprint. The R&D Blueprint was born as a result of the Ebola emergency in West Africa which began in March 2014.

What is disease X?

According to WHO, the name ‘Disease X’ “represents the knowledge of a serious international epidemic caused by a pathogen. The cause of which is currently unknown.

The virus does not exist yet, but scientists want to start preparing for “Disease X“. It could cause a global pandemic.

According to WHO report…

They are seeking to enable cross-cutting research and development preparedness. It is also relevant for an unknown ‘Disease X’ as far as possible. Along with disease X, the WHO named seven other potential global disease threats. Each of these diseases lacks an effective drug or vaccine.


These include –

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF)

Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease

Lassa fever

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Nipah and henipaviral diseases Rift Valley fever (RVF)


Zika diseases may pose major public health risks. It should be watched carefully.

WHO also mentioned few more disease in 2018.

They are dengue, yellow fever, HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis, malaria, influenza. They may cause severe human disease, smallpox, cholera, leishmaniasis, West Nile Virus, and plague.


Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci says that.

Experience has taught us more than we anticipate. Just the way we didn’t anticipate Zika, we didn’t think there would be an Ebola that would hit cities.

“X” stands for unexpected.

Scientists have developed customizable recipes for creating vaccines.They can sequence the unique genetics of the virus causing the disease. They plug the correct sequence into the already-developed platform to create a new vaccine.

Fauci said that to develop these platforms scientists must first study entire classes of viruses. The flaviviruses, which include Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, Zika, and West Nile virus. If you develop an understanding of the commonalities of those, you can respond more rapidly.

The virus was first discovered in 1976. It included a total of 28,616 confirmed, probable and suspected cases. The death rate was 11,310 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

WHO’s work alongside governments, scientists and private entities. It developed the first ever fully effective vaccine against Ebola, tested in 12 months as opposed to the 5-10 years. Kieny welcomed the opportunity to use her Ebola experience to prepare for future health emergencies.



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