Scientists are warning about the possibility of humanity facing a new pandemic, which, according to their forecasts, could occur within the next 20 years and have a 40% mortality rate. Possible sources of occurrence are human contact with an infected animal or a leak from a laboratory.
Photo: “Bacteria under a microscope” by Aleksadiz is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
Doctor Leonard Merkel from Brown University suggests that “Disease X” could occur when a poultry plant worker infected with human influenza also becomes infected with the avian strain. As a result of the exchange of genes between viruses, a new chimeric virus will appear.
This new virus is likely to be identified in China, where cases of bird flu have already been reported. Scientists warn that such a strain could quickly spread around the world and cause a new pandemic, killing 30 to 40% of those infected.
Virologist Martin Hirsch does not exclude the possibility of a new global pandemic starting with coronavirus. He emphasizes that coronaviruses and influenza are the most likely sources of the next threat, but does not rule out other viruses such as HIV, Ebola, yellow fever and dengue.
Entomologist Elmer Gray warns that increasing night temperatures may encourage the breeding of mosquitoes that transmit disease. He warns that diseases that have already been defeated could return to the United States, posing a threat to the population.