News"Disease X" Discussion at World Economic Forum Unraveled

“Disease X” Discussion at World Economic Forum Unraveled


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Social media has been abuzz with claims that “Disease X” is a looming mystery contagion, with one Instagram post garnering over 2,000 likes. The post suggests the World Economic Forum is holding a meeting about this purported disease, emphasizing its potential for higher fatalities than COVID-19. However, it’s crucial to clarify that “Disease X” is not an existing illness but rather a concept introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018.

The WHO included “Disease X” in its list of diseases posing the greatest public health risk to guide global research and development in areas such as vaccines, tests, and treatments. It represents a hypothetical pathogen that could potentially trigger an epidemic or pandemic, as per a 2022 announcement outlining the WHO’s intent to update its list.

While the current list includes real diseases like COVID-19, Zika, Ebola, and SARS, “Disease X” serves as a placeholder for future unknown threats. Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, emphasized the importance of targeting priority pathogens for research and development to enhance epidemic and pandemic response.

Responding to false claims circulating about “Disease X,” the WHO provided an updated release, reinforcing the concept’s speculative nature. The Davos panel, titled “Preparing for Disease X,” convened global healthcare leaders, including WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Brazil’s Minister of Health Nísia Trindade, and Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. The discussion focused on preparing healthcare systems for potential future pandemics and crises.

This report is part of The Associated Press’s ongoing effort to address widespread misinformation, collaborating with external entities to add factual context to misleading online content. For more information on fact-checking efforts, visit the AP website.

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