International – WHO launches R&D efforts to identify pathogens that could cause future pandemics

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced its plans to convene over 300 scientists in a meeting to discuss the evidence on over 25 virus families and bacteria, as well as ‘Disease X’.

Disease X represents an unknown pathogen that could have the potential to cause the next global pandemic.

Discussions began on Friday 18 November and WHO plans on future meetings to bring together experts for considerations on public health concerns, which will involve launching a global scientific process to update the list of priority pathogens. These are noted by researchers as being agents that could lead to outbreaks or future pandemics.

By updating the priority pathogens list under the advice of experts, it is hoped such guidelines will support global investment and R&D into areas including vaccines, tests and treatments. WHO has stated that the process will include ‘both scientific and public health criteria, as well as criteria related to socioeconomic impact, access and equity’…