DEADLY diseases with the potential to cause a pandemic even worse than Covid-19 have been named in a chilling new report.
CEPI, founded by Bill Gates, has warned the world’s leading authorities that serious action must be taken if we are to prevent an even deadlier disease from sweeping through the globe.
In just over a year, Covid-19 has infected around 122 million people around the world, killing nearly 2.7 million.
And its impact is still being felt around the world, with countries such as Brazil and Italy experiencing new waves of coronavirus .
But if we do not act soon then another perhaps even deadlier pandemic could be just around the corner.
Any of these could be the next Covid-19 or worse
The CEPI report has outlined 16 newly emerging disease as well as 27 re-emerging diseases which all have pandemic potential.
The report also highlights other coronaviruses known to us such as SARS and MERS as a significant recurrent pandemic threat.
It states: “The emergence of a coronavirus combining the transmissibility of Covid-19 with the lethality of SARS or MERS would be civilisation-shattering.”
Well known diseases that could make a comeback according to the report include HIV and Ebola in Africa.
The report adds: “Covid-19 is just one of many diseases with pandemic potential.
“More than 1.6 million yet to be discovered viral species from these virus families are thought to exist in mammal and bird hosts.
“And any of these could be the next Covid, or worse.”
There is one emerging disease, Cryptosporidiosis, that is listed on our doorstep.
The diarrhoea disease caused by microscopic parasites can live in the intestine of humans and animals and is protected by an outer shell, allowing it to survive outside the body for long periods of time.
It has also been known to lurk in swimming pools, hot tubs and jacuzzis, with an outbreak in the West Midlands in 2016 being linked to local pools.
The disease is believed to be particularly harmful to children, and often results in vomiting and diarrhoea which can become more serious if not treated.
CDC lists “people with weakened immune systems may develop serious, chronic, and sometimes even fatal illness.”
Lassa fever will be unfamiliar to many in the West but the zoonotic disease has inflicted parts of Africa, with the latest epidemic last year in Nigeria killing 144 people.
Severe cases can result in facial swelling, bleeding from the mouth, nose and vagina, and seizures.
Even patients who survive the disease are left to suffer, with 25 per cent losing their hearing.
Like many zoonotic diseases, it was first passed to humans from rats, but can also be transmitted between humans through blood, urine and faeces.
Other fatal diseases include Whitewater Arroyo virus which was thought to be able to pass to humans until it killed three women in Calfornia, including a 14-year-old girl.
The disease, believed to have originated in wood rats, can cause severe symptoms such as liver failure.
The 16 Deadly Diseases
CEPI has identified these newly emerging diseases as having the potential to cause another pandemic
- E.coli 0157:H7 – Bacteria found in food, often in milk and ground beef
- Cyclosporiasis – Intestinal illness caused by eating food contaminated with parasite
- Whitewater arroyo virus – Viral infection found in wood rats that can cause liver failure
- Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome – Fatal respiratory disease carried by rats
- Cryptosporidiosis – Diarrheal disease that can live in the intestines of humans and animals
- vCJD – Brain disease passed on through eating infected beef
- HIV – A virus attacking the body’s immune system which can lead to AIDS
- Ebola – A viral fever believed to have originated in monkeys. Can lead to red eyes and unexplained bleeding
- Marburg – Highly fatal disease from the same family as Ebola
- Hepatitis C – Spread through contact with blood from an infected person
- Lassa fever – Can result in facial swelling, bleeding from the mouth, nose and vagina, and seizures
- SARS – An airborne coronavirus which can be spread in a similar way to flu
- H5NI Influenza – A highly infectious strain of bird flu
- Enterovirus 71 – Can cause hand, foot and mouth disease in children
- Nipah – The fruit bat-borne virus Nipah causes severe brain swelling, seizures and vomiting
- Hendra virus – Similar to Nipah, 70% of people infected with the disease die
Another disease passed on by rodents in the US, hantavirus, recognised in 1993, comes with a 36 per cent fatality rate.
More than half of the people infected by the virus are inflicted by vomiting, nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Known as the “silent disease”, Hepatitis C does not come with the same severe symptoms as the disease above, but can be just as harmful.
Patients with chronic Hepatitis C infections often develop cirrhosis and liver cancer, with WHO estimating nearly 400,000 people died in 2016 as a result of the infection.
Unlike Hepatitis A and B, there is currently no vaccine to treat Hepatitis C.
Other recognisable diseases lurking on the list are vCJD, otherwise known as mad cow disease, HIV, bird flu and Ebola, all with the potential of mutating into a more dangerous virus.
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CEPI has launched a $3.5 billion plan to produce a library of vaccines capable of dealing with multiple diseases in order to prevent Disease X.
The money would also be used to tackle specific disease such as Lassa Fever, MERS, Nipah and Ebola.
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