The “disease X”, the next threat to humanity that has the WHO concerned | Health | Magazine

The Covid-19 pandemic, little by little and with some setbacks and many tragedies, will be remembered. This coronavirus can disappear and then reappear, continue endemically under the control of the vaccine, or simply fade and disappear. The economy and healthcare systems will return to a new normal, some parts faster than others.

Like the multiple plagues that humanity has endured since our ancestors gathered in cities – warns an investigation published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the United States (NCBI) -, this pandemic will generate recriminations for slow and wrong responses, speculations and exaggerated or insufficient reactions to economic, social and health events that, in retrospect, will be obvious.

The individuals and organizations most guilty of exacerbating the disaster will escape responsibility as they scapegoat others and try to rewrite history. Heroes, whether they are people who helped provide clear risk communication and leadership or groups who persevered in the face of life-threatening fear and danger, are going to excel. Without fanfare, most will return to their normal jobs, scarred but proud of their efforts. As they have done before, experts and scholars will write endlessly about the cause, effects, and ways to ameliorate the brutal destruction of lives and ways of life of the next pandemic.

“The problem is that we have done all this before and it seems that we have not learned the lessons that our predecessors taught.”, cautions Dr. Kenneth V. Iserson, professor of Emergency Medicine, director of the Arizona Bioethics Program at the University of Arizona School of Medicine and lead author of the research.

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Approximately one new disease emerges each year (AFP)

For most people, the new coronavirus appears to be an anomaly; it is not. The 20th century began with devastating waves of the Spanish flu that killed 50 million to 100 million people worldwide. About one new disease emerges each year. Not all have human-to-human transmission, but they do have it to scare those tasked with monitoring global health.

To highlight the danger and prioritize research, each year the World Health Organization (WHO) instructs a committee of experts to update its list of the most threatening infectious diseases that lack effective treatments or vaccines. The current list includes COVID-19, since the entire world is now focused on that pathogen. “What should act like a wake-up call to seriously fund surveillance, research and treatment Of the wide variety of possible pandemic agents is the entity at the bottom of the short list: the ‘disease X’”Iserson maintains.

Since 2015, the WHO has used this designation for a disease that could cause a pandemic due to a currently unknown pathogen to cause human disease. Last year’s disease X now has a name: COVID-19. However, the next unknown and nameless entity may already be lurking.

One might wonder: why don’t we come up with a plan to identify these pathogens early and mobilize scientists, the health community, politicians, and the public to combat these scourges? The answer is that we already have. We know what steps to take to limit a pandemic. WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services have developed and released detailed plans.

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“It is clear that there are multiple X diseases in our future; we have to be prepared” (AFP)

“After the SARS pandemiaFor example, the WHO detailed the steps necessary to control a pandemic. These vital steps were ignored during the initial period of the COVID-19 pandemic.. WHO suffers from a chronic underfunding, has to endure a bloated, slow and uncoordinated bureaucracy that has to answer to 194 countries. He has been convicted of both overreacting (2009 H1N1 pandemic) and overreacting (2014 Ebola epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic) and failing to act. The CDC is chronically underfunded and lacks political power. Academics are voices in the desert whose advice is generally sought too late in the process to have much effect, ”says the specialist.

And he concludes: “As the threat of COVID-19 diminishes, politicians will make big promises to implement plans to stop, or at least prepare for, the next pandemic. The recovering economy will be too weak at first to support the effort, although more funds will be promised in the future. Ultimately, they will make changes that are politically expedient and will not authorize the changes necessary to produce faster and more flexible responses. Memories of heartbreak and social disruption during COVID-19 will fade. Our strongholds against pandemic diseases will continue to be underfunded and inadequate for the job. Even so, it is evident that there are multiple diseases X in our future; We need to be prepared”.

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