Global health experts are warning people of a pandemic that can potentially kill 50 million people - known as Disease X
Global health experts are warning people of a pandemic that can potentially kill 50 million people - known as Disease X. Just to get some context to this number, the COVID-19 pandemic which broke in 2020 caused 2.5 million deaths.
. They're comparing the pandemic's damage rate to the Spanish Flu that caused havoc in 1918–1920.
Kate Bingham, chair of the UK's Vaccine Taskforce between May and December in 2020, told the Daily Mail that we should not be complacent. "Let me put it this way: the 1918–19 flu pandemic killed at least 50 million people worldwide, twice as many as were killed in World War I."
"Today, we could expect a similar death toll from one of the many viruses that already exist. Today, there are more viruses busily replicating and mutating than all the other life forms on our planet combined. Not all of them pose a threat to humans, of course - but plenty do."
The 57-year-old further added that 25 virus families have been identified. Each of them comprise up to thousands of individual viruses and have the potential to evolve into a pandemic. It is estimated that there could be a million more undiscovered viruses.
"In a sense, we got lucky with Covid-19, despite the fact that it caused 20 million or more deaths across the world. The point is that the vast majority of people infected with the virus managed to recover. Imagine Disease X is as infectious as measles with the fatality rate of Ebola [67%]. Somewhere in the world, it’s replicating, and sooner or later, somebody will start feeling sick."
Kate adds that the world needs to put 'money on the table'. And be prepared to spend to protect humans from 'real viruses'.