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Be ready for deadlier disease than COVID-19, WHO warns

The emergence of a doomsday variant of COVID-19 with the potential to plunge the world back into chaos remains a possibility.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus [BBC]

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivered the warning during the annual meeting of the organisation's 194 member states.

Presenting a new global initiative aimed at identifying and monitoring the most dangerous pathogens, Dr Tedros emphasised the urgency of the situation. He addressed the World Health Assembly forum, stressing that the threat of a future public health crisis could not be overlooked or postponed.

Despite progress made in overcoming the darkest days of the pandemic, the emergence of a doomsday variant of COVID-19 with the potential to plunge the world back into chaos remains a possibility.

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"The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains. And the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains," Dr Tedros stated with grave concern.

While no specific diseases were named, the UN agency's list of pressing threats includes 'Disease X,' a hypothetical term used to denote a devastating pathogen yet to be discovered. The inclusion of Disease X underscores the need for preparedness and vigilance in the face of unknown future challenges.

Dr Tedros' cautionary remarks come just weeks after the WHO declared that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

Instead, the virus is now regarded as an established and ongoing health issue. This shift in classification highlights the evolving nature of the pandemic and the need for long-term strategies to combat the virus.

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The WHO's new global scheme unveiled by Dr Tedros seeks to identify and track potentially dangerous pathogens before they become widespread and catastrophic.

By proactively monitoring and responding to emerging threats, the international community aims to prevent future pandemics from reaching the devastating scale witnessed with COVID-19.

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