In February 2017 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a placeholder adopted name for any new unknown pathogen that could cause disease and a potential epidemic in the future.
The WHO called this “disease X” and was added to the list of blueprint priority diseases as a “known unknown” in 2018.
Coronavirus now officially called Covid-19 has already morphed from a mild to a deadly virus and is fast becoming a possible contender for “disease X.”
In just over three months, coronavirus has infected over 220,000 people with almost 9,000 dead globally.
Marion Koopmans, head of viroscience at Erasmus University and a member of the WHO’s emergency committee, recently said, “Whether it will be contained or not, this [coronavirus]outbreak is rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the disease X category.”
The WHO warned the window of opportunity to stem the deadly coronavirus outbreak was “narrowing.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the head of the WHO said, “Although the total number of cases outside China remains relatively small, we are concerned about the number of cases with no clear epidemiological link, such as travel history to China or contact with a confirmed case.”
In a paper for the American Medical Association doctors wrote, “Unlike SARS, Covid-19 infection has a broader spectrum of severity ranging from asymptomatic to mildly symptomatic to severe illness that requires mechanical ventilation.
“Clinical progression of the illness appears similar to SARS: patients developed pneumonia around the end of the first week to the beginning of the second week of illness.”
SARS was more deadly than coronavirus with a fatality rate of 9.5% but, coronavirus is feared to be more contagious than SARS.
From Thursday morning London transport services are being scaled down and Londoners are being warned, “don’t’ travel unless you really have to.”