On Monday, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a warning that the planet must be prepared for a disease deadlier than Covid-19.
Dr. Tedros delivered this message during a meeting of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, just weeks after the WHO officially ended the global health emergency related to COVID-19.
While claiming that COVID-19 still poses a significant threat, Tedros warned that it is not the sole health crisis the world may face.
“We cannot kick this can down the road,” said Tedros. “If we do not make the changes that must be made, then who will? And if we do not make them now, then when? When the next pandemic comes knocking — and it will — we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively, and equitably.”
He added, “The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains, and the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains.”
Daily Mail reported:
He was speaking as the WHO unveiled a new global scheme to spot and track the most dangerous pathogens at an annual meeting of its 194 member states.
No specific diseases were named. But ‘Disease X’ — a place-holder given to a devastating pathogen not yet discovered — is on the UN agency’s list of pressing threats.
At the WHA’s 76th meeting, the WHO launched the International Pathogen Surveillance Network (IPSN). It will give all nations access to genomic sequencing to identify and respond to emerging disease threats using genomics.
Genomics – the study of the genetic material found in a virus – helps scientists spot mutations that can make a pathogen more infectious or deadly.
Scientists can then develop treatments and vaccines that work against them, while nations can mount a timely response.
The World Health Organization has advocated for narrowing research efforts to a select group of infectious diseases. The greatest threat to public health, according to the group, comes from infections like Ebola, Marburg, Lassa fever, Nipah, and Zika.