NO ONE IS SAFE Disease X outbreak that could ‘kill 80 million’ is ‘on the horizon’ – and scientists need help

AN outbreak of so-called Disease X is “on the horizon” and could kill 80 million, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts have warned.

Scientists are looking for vaccines that could combat the as-yet-unknown infectious diseases and unknown pathogens.

This graphic from a recent report shows global examples of emerging and re-emerging diseases

Last month, a panel led by the ex-chief of the WHO, released a stark report warning of the danger of a lethal respiratory pathogen, which they say could kill between 50 and 80 million people.

The 15 public health leaders criticised a “cycle of panic and neglect” which they say has characterised responses to health emergencies.

Funding for vaccines

Now, the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said it was looking for funding applications for platforms capable of developing vaccines to combat the threat.

Richard Hatchett, CEO of the CEPI, said: “We can be sure that another epidemic is on the horizon. It is not a case of if, but when.

“We need to be prepared. We need to invest in platform technologies that can be used to quickly respond to the emergence of a pathogen with epidemic potential.

We can be sure that another epidemic is on the horizon. It is not a case of if, but when

Richard HatchettCEPI

“That’s why CEPI is boosting its funding for such platform technologies that can be used to make vaccines and other immunoprophylactics in a matter of weeks and months, instead of years, which is currently the case.”

The calls add to the £42 million ($54 million) the organisation has already committed on a guarding against the spread.

Since 1980, outbreaks of infectious diseases have increased from 1,000 to 3,000 in 2010.

Hatchett added: “Our criteria are broad, and the call is open for 12 months, in the hope that we’re able to attract the best and brightest ideas from around the world.

“If we succeed in this endeavour, we will be able to equip humanity with the tools to combat Disease X and create a world in which epidemics are no longer a threat.”

MORE DEADLY THAN EBOLA

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified Disease X as more deadly than Ebola and Lassa fever.

According to a recent report by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, such a pandemic could wipe out between 50 and 80 million people, as well as five percent of the global economy.

The report added that as the world has become increasingly interconnected, such a pathogen could spread around the globe within 36 to 50 hours.

While some governments and agencies have made efforts to prepare for disease outbreaks since the devastating 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa that left over 10,000 dead, those efforts are “grossly insufficient,” the report said.

Newly emerging diseases by continent

Europe

  • Cryptosporidiosis – an intestinal disease caused by microscopic parasites
  • E.coli O104:H4 – a strain of bacteria that caused outbreak in Germany in 2011
  • Variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD) – brain disease caused by eating infected beef

North America

  • Enterovirus D68 – group of viruses that can cause polio and hand, food and mouth disease
  • Heartland virus – viral disease spread by infected tick bites
  • Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome – severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease caused by infected rodents
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • H3N2v influenza – strain of flu that started in pigs
  • Cyclosporiasis –  intestinal illness caused by microscopic parasites
  • E. coli O157:H7 – form of the bacteria
  • 2009 H1N1 influenza – swine flu
  • Bourbon virus – understood to be spread through tick or insect bite

South America

  • Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome

Africa

  • Human monkeypox – similar to smallpox transmitted from rodents or primates
  • Ebola virus
  • Zika virus
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis C

Asia

  • Akhmeta virus (AKMV) – a form of pox virus
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – viral respiratory disease, sometimes known as camel flu
  • Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Bunyavirus (SFTSV) – a type of haemorrhagic fever
  • E. coli O157:H7 – strain of bacteria
  • H5N6 influenza – strain of bird flu
  • H10N8 influenza – strain of bird flu
  • H7N9 influenza – strain of bird flu
  • H5N1 influenza – strain of bird flu
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) – outbreaks in 2002 and 2004
  • Nipah virus – transmitted from animals, contaminated food or directly between infected people

Australia

  • Hendra virus – virus that infects large fruit bats that can be passed to horses and people

Re-emerging/re-surging diseases by continent

Europe

North America

  • Powassan virus – brain infection transmitted by ticks
  • West Nile virus – disease spread through mosquitoes
  • Measles
  • Human monkey-pox – similar to smallpox transmitted from rodents or primates
  • Listeriosis – bacterial infection that can cause sepsis, brain infection and death
  • Adenovirus 14 – acute respiratory illness dubbed the killer cold virus
  • Lyme disease – bacterial infection spread by ticks
  • MDR/XDR tuberculosis – drug-resistant tuberculosis
  • Chikungunya – virus is spread by infected mosquito bite
  • Acute flaccid myelitis – polio-like condition that affects the nervous system
  • Dengue fever – mosquito-borne tropical disease
  • Cholera – infection that causes severe diarrhoea caused by drinking contaminated water
  • Antimicrobial resistant threats:
    • CRE
    • MRSA
    • C. difficile
    • N. gonorrhoeae

South America

  • Zika virus
  • Cholera
  • Drug-resistant malaria
  • Yellow fever – viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes

Asia

  • Diphtheria – highly contagious infection that can affect the nose, throat and skin
  • Typhoid fever – bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs
  • MDR/XDR tuberculosis
  • Nipah virus
  • Cholera
  • Enterovirus 71
  • Drug-resistant malaria

Africa

  • Yellow fever
  • Ebola virus
  • Lassa fever – viral haemorrhagic illness transmitted from contact with bodily fluids of infected person
  • MDR/XDR tuberculosis
  • Chloera
  • Rift Valley fever – viral disease spread through contact with infected animals
  • Drug-resistant malaria
  • Plague – caused by bacteria usually found in small mammals and their fleas
  • Human African trypanosomiasis – insect-borne parasitic disease, also known as sleeping sickness
  • Marburg virus

In the case of a pandemic, many national health systems – particularly in poor countries – would collapse.

The WHO also warned earlier this year that another pandemic of flu – which is caused by airborne viruses – is inevitable, and said the world should prepare for it.

The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board’s report cited the 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic, which killed an estimated 50 million people.

Studies have shown most of the fatalities were among those under the age of 65.

The virus is thought to have used the body’s own immune system to work against it.

This caused fatal “cytokine storms” in victims – an overproduction of immune cells that can overwhelm the body.

The stronger the immune system, the more devastating the effects of the Spanish Flu on an infected person.

If Disease X spawns from an influenza strain it could have a similarly devastating effect on younger populations.

Some governments have made efforts to prepare for disease outbreaks since the devastating 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa

As many as 50 million people died worldwide as a result of the devastating Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918

The white British ISIS child executioner: Horrific propaganda video appears to show blue-eyed boy with jihadi fighter name ‘Abu Abdullah Al-Britani’ shooting a prisoner in the head in Syria

• Chilling video shows five young boys carrying out executions of prisoners with handguns

• One of the boys is identified as Abu Abdullah al-Britani, a nom de guerre popular with British jihadists 

• He is white, blue-eyed, aged around 12 and appears to be fluent in Arabic and comfortable with firearms

A chilling new video from ISIS shows a British boy and four other children executing prisoners in cold blood in Syria.

The grotesque nine-minute video is believed to have been recorded recently in the ISIS capital of Raqqa, in Syria, and shows the organisation is becoming even more brutal as it retreats into its heartland.

The video shows five boys – believed to be from Britain, Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and Uzbekistan, wielding handguns and wearing the desert camouflage.

The British boy (second from the right) is identified as Abu Abdullah al-Britani

One of the youngsters makes a blood-curdling shriek in Arabic and slaps one of the terrified captives on his shaved head before they raise their guns and kill the five men, ‘atheist’ Kurdish fighters who were captured during a battle.

The Sun reported the British boy was identified only as Abu Abdullah al-Britani. He is white, blue-eyed and aged around 12.

Abu means ‘Son of’ in Arabic, which suggests the boy may be the son of Abdullah al-Britani, a young British jihadist who married in Syria and was killed in a drone strike.

The British boy (second from right, in camouflage) shows all the signs of being brainwashed

The Times says one of the boys says in Arabic: ‘No one can save the Kurds even with the support of America, France, Britain, Germany, the devils in hell.’

He then calls for the takbir and the other boys shout in unison – Allahu Akbar (God is Great) before raising their pistols to the sky and shooting the prisoners. Their bodies are later shown with bullet wounds to the head.

The children copy five older jihadists who execute prisoners in orange jumpsuits and butcher them with knives. 

The age of criminal responsibility in Britain is 10 so if the boy was captured and sent back to Britain to face justice he could be prosecuted for murder.

The horrific video shows the boys, who are all aged around 12 or 13, executing prisoners with handguns

Dozens of British jihadists are believed to be fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq under the nom de guerre al-Britani, which simply means British in Arabic.  

Last year Assad Uzzaman, 25, from Portsmouth, was killed in Syria while using the name al-Britani. 

ISIS has been increasingly using child soldiers – known as the ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’ amid speculation it is running low on manpower as it retreats from positions in Syria and Iraq and falls back on its stronghold, around Raqqa.

The Quilliam Foundation reported this year that around 50 British children are ‘growing up on jihad’ and being groomed to become ISIS fighters. 

The video shows the prisoners, wearing orange jumpsuits, kneeling on the ground and preparing for death (left). One of the boys then shouts out in Arabic a verse from the Koran before the hapless prisoners are killed

In January this year Isa Dare, a five-year-old British boy dubbed ‘Jihadi Junior’ featured in an ISIS video. He shouted: ‘We will kill the kuffar [non-believers]’ before ISIS fighters executed several prisoners. His mother, Grace Dare, from Lewisham, south east London, is believed to have taken him to join ISIS

ISIS fighters pictured in 2014 at the height of their power. But in recent months they have been retreating and falling back on Raqqa as they come under attack from all sides

Share or comment on this article

Shrimp on Prozac commit suicide

Study finds that shrimp swimming in Prozac-contaminated water tend to swim toward the light, making them easier prey.

Throughout history, there have been far too many people who become suicidal because somebody called them a “shrimp.” Antidepressants can have the unfortunate and ironic side effect of causing suicidal tendencies. But real shrimp pitching themselves into the open mouth of a predator because they’re on Prozac?

 

It sounds too absurd to be true, but according to Salon, a recent study found that shrimp exposed to Prozac display suicidal behavior. As humans ingest and excrete untold amounts of pharmaceuticals, many of those drugs — including fluoexetine, Prozac’s main ingredient — end up in the water.

 

After ingesting Prozac, are legions of shrimp losing all hope and wishing to die? Not exactly. Study author Dr. Alex Ford is quick to note that shrimp aren’t people, but fluoexetine does have an effect upon the shrimps’ brains, making their nerves more sensitive to seratonin, the brain chemical responsible for moods and sleep patterns.

 

When exposed to the chemical, shrimp are five times more likely to swim toward bright areas of water instead of sticking to their usual dark, safe corners.

 

“This behavior makes them much more likely to be eaten by a predator, such as a fish or bird,” Ford told National Geographic.

 

Such reckless behavior in shrimp isn’t the only way Prozac and other antidepressant medications can affect wildlife. The study authors note that drugs cause unusual behavior in many other species as well.

 

The consequences of pharmaceuticals in wastewater are only now being explored, and the issue extends beyond the improper dumping of unused medication. Since many drugs are not entirely metabolized by our bodies, drugs get into our wastewater.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has called the issue “a growing concern” and has begun testing for many drugs at water treatment plants around the nation.