Lockdowns, quarantine, protective masks and sanitizers,it seems finally in the past – on May 5 this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we look back with shudder at 2020 and the chaos that the world has been plunged into due to the coronavirus outbreak: according to the organization’s report, about 15 million people have died from COVID-19 and its consequences in two years of the pandemic and its consequences. But despite the retreat of the virus, the threat to public health remains. This was announced at the end of May by the head of WHO Tedros Ghebreyesus, urging countries around the world to prepare for the next pandemic, which could be even worse than COVID-19. At the same time, covid itself is still circulating around the planet and, according to experts, poses a threat to public health. It turns out that you and I will have to survive another pandemic? Or not? Let's figure it out!
- 1 End of the pandemic
- 2 Post-Covid
- 3 Disease X and other infections
- 4 Pathogens from biolabs
End of the pandemic
At the end of 2019, we paid attention to the newsabout an unknown disease coming from China, which was written about in one of the articles. In January 2020, the situation did not look like an emergency, and information about outbreaks of a wide variety of diseases regularly appeared (and appears) in the media. At that time, few people could have imagined that the “next” virus would plunge the world into real chaos.
Today there is hardly a person who does notfaced with covid - even if you did not get infected, this fate befell one of your relatives or friends. The insidiousness of the disease is that it could proceed both very easily and asymptomatically, while affecting the entire body. For example, I found out about my diagnosis on the third day of mild malaise, after I stopped smelling. The sense of smell was restored in a week, but not everyone was so lucky.
Our regular readers will surely remember that we closely followed the situation and covered in detail all the events related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Crowded hospitals, lines of ambulances,lined up outside the emergency departments and the death of loved ones - that's what millions of people around the world have gone through. Hundreds of thousands more are still struggling with the consequences of the disease, including loss of hearing, vision, smell, diseases of the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Alas, the list of complications after suffering COVID-19 is huge and is regularly updated with new data.
The invention of vaccines certainly contributed toend of the pandemic. However, during these two years, the virus constantly mutated, inventing more and more sophisticated ways to break into the cells of the human body and more and more disguised as colds and flu. This process continues today, even though the infection has receded. The same thing happens with other pathogens - that's why we shouldn't relax.
So, in April of this year, the first person infected with bird flu died in China. This happened a year after the first reported case.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus' warning comes just weeks after the group officially declared the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the WHO meeting in Geneva, the headThe organization said the threat of another variant of the coronavirus that causes new spikes in illness and death remains, as does the threat of another pathogen with even more deadly potential.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that virtuallyevery person on the planet needs better protection. “If no action is taken, then when the next pandemic knocks on the door – and it will – we must be ready to respond decisively, collectively and fairly,” Ghebreyesus said.
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During the meeting, the experts reported on the work ona global agreement to fight the pandemic, which is expected to continue negotiations throughout the year. WHO representatives noted that this is an important initiative aimed at making the world a safer place: "We must make sure that we do not start panicking and neglecting the disease again, as this has made us vulnerable."
But if the next pandemic is unavoidable (as the whole history of mankind confirms), is it possible to understand what exactly we may face? The answer to this question will not be easy, because Since 2009, scientists have discovered more than 900 new viruses. The greatest threat, according to experts, comes fromfrom increased contact between humans and wild animals. Such encounters increase the risk of animal-to-human transmission of the pathogen, potentially triggering future pandemics.
WHO still has some guesses.Thus, experts urge scientists to focus on the study of Ebola and Marburg viruses, Lassa fever, Nipah and Zika. “These diseases pose the greatest threat to public health due to their epidemic potential,” the organization said.
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Disease X and other infections
Many experts, however, are focusing on so-called disease X, the as-yet-unidentified source of the next global pandemic. Note that disease X is not a real disease, but is on the WHO list of priority diseases.
Clearly, COVID-19 has changed perspectivemost people in the sense that the pandemic really happened, and on a grand scale. I think people are worried that something similar or even more devastating could happen, said Dr Andrew Friedman, an infectious disease specialist at Cardiff University in the UK.
Many can cause disease Xtypes of pathogens, although most experts expect an outbreak of a new coronavirus or influenza, which, like covid, will cross the species barrier and start infecting people. As soon as such an infection begins to be transmitted from person to person, the situation becomes dangerous.
Read even more articles about a wide variety of diseases that pose a threat to humans on our channel in Yandex.Zen. There are regularly published articles that are not on the site!
Despite WHO recommendations for the treatmentattention to the Ebola and Marburg viruses, although they have pandemic potential, they are more amenable to containment because they are not respiratory viruses and have a high lethality. “There have been major outbreaks, but the potential for Ebola and Margburg to cause a pandemic that will spread around the world is much lower,” experts say.
Another problem is the growth of stabilitybacteria to antibiotics, which could also lead to a pandemic. For example, a 2019 UN report warned that by 2050, 10 million deaths could be caused by antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. However, good news has recently emerged - artificial intelligence has been able to identify a new antibiotic, abaucin, that can be used to destroy the superbug Acinetobacter baumannii.
Technological breakthroughs, especially the creation of vaccinesagainst coronavirus, will also allow the rapid development and introduction of new drugs to combat other deadly pathogens (they are likely to be viral in nature).
And yet the risk of something unexpectedThe unusual, the unknown and the unheard of are higher today than ever, as many people live in close proximity to wild animals that are likely sources of pathogens that can be transmitted to humans. The continued trade in live animals in China's markets continues to be of concern to researchers, as are farming practices.
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Public organization Compassion in WorldFarming, which opposes intensive or factory farming, argues that the stressful, overcrowded conditions on industrial farms contribute to the emergence and spread of dangerous infectious diseases.
Pathogens from biolabs
Another potential source of the pandemic isleak from the laboratory. Remember how the Wuhan Institute of Virology, located near the first outbreak of the coronavirus, came under the spotlight? The debate about the origin of covid is still ongoing, and many people are convinced that the cause of the pandemic is a leak during the study of coronaviruses.
There are many conflictinghypotheses, so it is unlikely we will ever know definitively whether COVID-19 was the result of a leak or evolved naturally. Alas, the threat of the virus escaping from the biolab is real, according to a recent report on the "global boom in biolab construction" by UK and US universities.
This is interesting: Due to ancient bacteria, diseases can become worse than coronavirus
Strict security procedures, of course,reduce risks, but analysts believe that the leak could be deliberate, for example, if an employee tries to carry out a bioterrorist attack. Alas, the threat of a new pandemic and the emergence of diseases unknown to science is more relevant than ever. And although we are better than ever able to fight disease, it is better to prepare for a new pandemic. Be healthy!