Disease X: Mysterious pathogen could kill millions worldwide, says WHO

2017-2018 influenza season
2017-2018 influenza season Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that a mysterious, yet to be named pathogen could kill millions of people worldwide. The WHO has added this new illness dubbed as 'Disease X' to the list of potential epidemics that could devastate the world with a wide outbreak.

Every year, scientists at the WHO create a list of the most likely diseases which have potential to break out into a worldwide pandemic. This year, along with diseases like Ebola, SARS, and Zika viruses, 'Disease X' has also found its place.

Disease X: A global threat

Experts in WHO has identified 'Disease X' as a global threat capable of killing millions in times of an outbreak. According to WHO, 'Disease X' will be caused by a pathogen which is not yet identified to cause human diseases. Experts believe that this unknown pathogen may go unnoticed until it is too late when it has already spread to all nooks of the globe, taking the world by surprise.

"Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease, and so the R&D Blueprint explicitly seeks to enable cross-cutting R&D preparedness that is also relevant for an unknown 'Disease X' as far as possible," said WHO in a statement.

Factors which will trigger the outbreak of Disease X

According to experts, Disease X, in all probabilities will be man-made. The use of chemical weapons is on the rise now, and sometimes, an act of terror may introduce the unknown pathogen to the humankind. It should be noted that several chemical weapons have been dropped on civilians during the civil wars.

In 2017, North Korea has reportedly used a VX nerve agent to assassinate Kim Jong-un's half-brother in a Malaysian airport.

Experts believe that manmade human viruses will be more dangerous than natural ones, as humans have not built up any resistance over time to them. If a manmade virus outbreak sweep across the globe, millions will get killed before doctors and scientists can tame the virus.