New disease as contagious as Covid and fatal like Ebola approaching humanity: Report

Mumbai | Updated on January 04, 2021

The scientist who cautioned the world about the Ebola virus haswarned that new and potentially fatal viruses are sprouting from African tropical rainforests.

This comes as a woman demonstrated hemorrhagic fever symptoms in a remote town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This has made people apprehensive of new deadly pathogens approaching humanity.

According to a CNN report, the woman in Ingende took a test of several diseases, including Ebola, but all results came out negative.

The report speculated that the disease came from some unknown virus source, an “unexpected” pathogen that could spread as rapidly as Covid-19 but has Ebola’s fatality rate of 50 to 90 per cent. However, the patient who showed the symptoms of this unknown virus recuperated from it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called this “Disease X”, where “X” stands for unexpected, is hypothetical for now.

“We are now in a world where new pathogens will come out. And that’s what constitutes a threat for humanity,” Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, who helped discover the Ebola virus in 1976, said while speaking to CNN.

Replying to the question of whether this new disease could be more apocalyptic than Covid-19, he said: “Yes, yes, I think so.”

Muyembe believes that several zoonotic diseases, or those that jump from animals to humans, could emerge.

“If a pathogen emerged from Africa, it would take time to spread all over the world. So, if this virus is detected early -- like in my institution where -- there will be an opportunity for Europe [and the rest of the world] to develop new strategies to fight these new pathogens,” Muyembe told CNN.

Published on January 04, 2021

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