A scary reality has surfaced amidst the never-ending threat of nuclear war or massive asteroid impact. The founder of Microsoft Bill Gates shared his belief that the biggest threat to humankind is an unknown pathogen codenamed Disease X.
In his last Ted Talk, Gates discussed a severe warning regarding the fate of humanity. He noted that world leaders have and will become so focused on building their nuclear empires and deterrents that they will overlook the possibility and reality of another disease outbreak occurring.
“When I was a kid, the disaster we worried about most was a nuclear war,” he said, “That’s why we had a barrel-like this down in our basement, filled with cans of food and water.”
“Today, the greatest risk of global catastrophe doesn’t look like this,” Gates added. “Instead it looks like this: If anything kills over 10 million people in the next decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus than a war.”
The infectious virus that Gates noted is currently known as Disease X, which is the codename for an unknown pathogen has been feared due to its potential to cause a global outbreak.
As demonstrated in previous epidemics like the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the Zika virus outbreak in 2007 and the monkeypox outbreak in 2003, Gates claims the world is not prepared to adequately prevent and handle a pandemic.
“We’ve invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents,” he said. “But we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We’re not ready for the next epidemic.”
The evolution of Disease X and other dangerous pathogens has a lot to do with people’s growing dependence on antibiotics to cure illnesses.
With the constant use of drugs, many of the bacteria that medicines are intended to fight have grown to become stronger and more resistant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has added Disease X in its priority list along with the Ebola virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and Zika. The nature of Disease X is unknown.
According to WHO, medical organizations and governments need to be more aggressive if they wish to halt the spread and evolution of these diseases.
“These diseases pose major public health risks, and further research and development are needed, including surveillance and diagnostics,” WHO noted in a statement. “They should be watched carefully.”
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