A leading scientist in Edinburgh has suggested another pandemic could be “around the corner,’ from “Disease X.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting our daily lives for nearly a full year now, especially those of us in the United States. With the vaccine distribution ongoing and the Biden administration ramping up preventative measures to get the pandemic under control, news that another global health crisis may be right around the corner is not what many of us want to hear right now.
Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, has suggested another pandemic could be on the horizon caused by an unknown ‘Disease X.’ He admitted that in 2017, he and some colleagues asked the World Health Organization to add something called Disease X to its list of priority illnesses.
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He added that the impending pandemic should be on everyone’s radar. “You could use the phrase ‘it is when, not if,'” he declared of its potential.
‘We thought that the next emerging pandemic might be a virus that we don’t even know about yet – quite frankly we thought it was the most likely scenario,’ he said. In a meeting the following year, experts examined what the disease might be and came up with one possibility of a novel coronavirus related to Mers or Sers.
“I’m not sure that there’s a lot of thinking going on about the next threat, while the world is concentrating full tilt on dealing with the one it’s got. I absolutely agree that there needs to be more thought about that,” he went on to say. “Unfortunately, I like to put it, we did a lot of work, we did our revision, we went into the exam room, and they gave us the wrong paper.”
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“We thought that the next emerging pandemic might be a virus that we don’t even know about yet,” he said. “Quite frankly, we thought it was the most likely scenario. It’s picking up the ones that are actually going to cause the next pandemic out of this constant trickle of new viruses that are coming along. Occasionally one comes along, so spotting the rare event is always hard.”
It’s looking like there might not be an “after the pandemic” in the near future after all.