What if the world encounters a pandemic that is deadlier than Covid-19? Are the countries prepared for it and are enough studies conducted on how to tackle it? Recently, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while addressing the attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, warned of such a possibility. He also urged nations to come together for a 'pandemic pact' by May 2024, to face the 'common enemy.'
To the uninitiated, the name 'Disease X' was adopted by WHO a few years ago, to "indicate an unknown pathogen that can cause a serious international epidemic." Disease X is also part of a list of potentially dangerous pathogens, which includes COVID-19, Ebola virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Nipah, and Zika. The director general said that some of the preparedness responses to Disease X, or the next pandemic, could include an early-warning system, advanced research, and development to testing drugs and organising supply chains.
He also said that primary health care would need to be looked at, as many wealthy countries did not fare well during Covid. "It’s better to anticipate something that may happen because it has happened in our history many times and prepare for it. We should not face things unprepared; we can prepare for some unknown things, as well," explained Ghebreyesus, who added that communities can also prepare for the next pandemic, stressing means like public health, communication, and education.
A pandemic agreement
Ghebreyesus said that a 'pandemic agreement' can help the world prepare for the future better. "This is about a common enemy and without a shared response, starting from the preparedness, we will face the same problem as Covid-19," he said, reminding the world that the deadline for it is May 2024. He also said that if our generation, which has first-hand experience of COVID-19 cannot do it, he doesn't think the next generation will be able to do it.