The World Health Organization (WHO) has added Disease X to a list of viruses that could cause a future deadly global pandemic.
WHO has called for urgent measures to accelerate research and development to tackle it.
The mystery disease was listed in the 2018 annual review of R&D Blueprint, a list developed by the WHO to identify, prioritize and accelerate research and development for diseases that lack efficacious drugs and/or vaccines, and pose a public health risk.
“Disease X” represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease,” WHO said in a statement.
The goal is to be prepared as much as possible for an unknown “Disease X”, it added.
Besides Disease X, the seven other potential global disease threats each lacking an effective drug or vaccine includes Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF); Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease; Lassa fever; Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS); Nipah and henipaviral diseases Rift Valley fever (RVF); and Zika.
Outside the 2018 Blueprint, the WHO also mentioned dengue, yellow fever, HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis, malaria, influenza causing severe human disease, smallpox, cholera, leishmaniasis, West Nile Virus and plague, saying further research and development is needed to tackle these diseases.