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What Is “Disease X” And Is Malaysia Prepared To Face It?

What Is “Disease X” And Is Malaysia Prepared To Face It?

The sci-fi-sounding Disease X is a name given to an unknown disease that may be worse than Covid-19.

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The Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 has scarred many and it’s understandable if people are worried that another pandemic will hit the world again.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has given assurances that Malaysia is prepared to face any future pandemic, including the sci-fi-sounding threat known as Disease X, which is predicted to be more devastating than Covid-19.

Disease X is not the official name of the disease. It’s only given the name “Disease X” by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because it’s not known what the disease is yet but it may occur in the future (because a virus keeps mutating).

Nevertheless, the Health Ministry (KKM) is always prepared for future pandemics and Zaliha said the WHO will alert its member countries whenever a new disease epidemic occurs.

For illustration purposes. Image: Malay Mail

Zaliha said Disease X was not discussed at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York where 154 United Nations members convened alongside health ministers.

University Putra Malaysia (UPM) virology expert Professor Dr Zamberi Sekawi told Sinar Harian that it’s vital for Malaysia to be prepared even if there have been no reported cases of Disease X to date.

He said the disease should be contained early before it becomes a pandemic and take more human lives.

Previously, the WHO has been criticised for being slow to respond to pandemics such as the 2014 Ebola pandemic and the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

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