A DEVASTATING outbreak of a flu-like illness has been dubbed as Disease X by scientists.
But what exactly is it and is there a vaccine to combat the deadly plague? Here’s what we know.
What is Disease X?
The deadly plague, dubbed by scientists as Disease X, is an outbreak of a flu-like illness.
It was reported recently that an outbreak of the flu-like illness could result in a pandemic that would kill 80 million people worldwide.
In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified Disease X as more deadly that Ebola and Lassa fever.
The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board’s report cited the 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic, which killed an estimated 50 million people.
Studies have shown most of the fatalities were among those under the age of 65.
The virus is thought to have used the body’s own immune system to work against it.
This caused fatal “cytokine storms” in victims – an overproduction of immune cells that can overwhelm the body.
The stronger the immune system, the more devastating the effects of the Spanish Flu on an infected person.
If Disease X spawns from an influenza strain it could have a similarly devastating effect on younger populations.
Is there a vaccine?
Scientists are currently looking for vaccines that could combat the as-yet-unknown infectious diseases and unknown pathogens.
On Tuesday, the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said it was looking for funding applications for platforms capable of developing vaccines to combat the threat.
Richard Hatchett, CEO of the CEPI, said: “We can be sure that another epidemic is on the horizon. It is not a case of if, but when. We need to be prepared.”
He added: “We need to invest in platform technologies that can be used to quickly respond to the emergence of a pathogen with epidemic potential.
“That’s why CEPI is boosting its funding for such platform technologies that can be used to make vaccines and other immunoprophylactics in a matter of weeks and months, instead of years, which is currently the case.”
The calls add to the $54 million the organisation has already committed on a guarding against the spread.