What is Disease X? WHO virus study provides roadmap to stop pandemic

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, delivers remarks Dec. 15 during a press conference with press correspondents to the United Nations at WHO headquarters in Geneva.

A hypothetical virus dubbed Disease X has world leaders convening at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week to discuss how to prevent the threat of another cataclysmic pandemic.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, planned to host a seminar Wednesday alongside other health officials in Davos to prepare to confront the potentially deadly virus.

The news ignited a heated debate on social media in the days leading up to the seminar, where conspiracy theories proliferated, with some warning that potential measures could parallel the shutdown orders put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But despite the resurging interest in Disease X, the theoretical pathogen is not a new topic for the WHO. Even before the COVID-10 pandemic swept the globe, the United Nations agency has spent years researching and preparing for the next wave of deadly diseases.

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