The head of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the world should be prepared to respond to a disease outbreak of “even deadlier potential” than COVID-19.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the World Health Assembly forum that the threat of another public health crisis could not be kicked ‘down the road’.
He also claimed that, despite the darkest days of the pandemic being consigned to history, a doomsday Covid variant with the power to send the world back to square one could still spawn.
In Geneva, Switzerland, Dr Tedros said : ‘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
He was speaking as the WHO unveiled a new global scheme to spot and track the most dangerous pathogens at an annual meeting of its 194 member states.
No specific diseases were named. But ‘Disease X’ — a place-holder given to a devastating pathogen not yet discovered — is on the UN agency’s list of pressing threats.
Dr Tedros’ comments came after the WHO earlier this month declared that Covid was no longer a public health emergency of international concern.
Instead, the virus is now considered an ‘established and ongoing health issue’.
It marked a major step and came three years after a cluster of Chinese residents in the city of Wuhan came down with a mysterious illness in December 2019.
At the WHA’s 76th meeting, the WHO launched the International Pathogen Surveillance Network (IPSN). It will give all nations access to genomic sequencing to identify and respond to emerging disease threats using genomics.