Research, Technology

Monkeypox and Other Infections: Waiting for 'Disease X'

Alarms are coming in from all over the more and more infectious diseases are spreading around the world, such as monkeypox. The results of a recent study showed that the virus mutates rapidly and instead of the standard ten mutations, 50 were found. True, whether new mutations will lead to accelerated transmission of the virus between people is unknown - further laboratory experiments will clarify the situation. So today scientists are talking about "accelerated evolution" and the possible emergence of the so-called "disease X" - an unknown pathogen with an extremely high lethality. It looks like the world is entering a new era, and disease-X is already looming on the horizon. We understand which diseases pose the greatest risk to global health and why.

How many people, so many opinions - this is a statementgoes with almost everything except the scientific method. The presence of a convincing evidence base allows scientists to dot all i and come to a consensus by turning assumptions and theories into scientific facts.


  • 1 Virus Threat 2022
  • 2 Accelerated evolution
  • 3 Disease-X and other troubles
  • 4 Waiting for extinction

Virus Threat 2022

The world is going through difficult times.Climate change and the pandemic are already catastrophic. Heatwaves, wildfires, droughts and floods are becoming more frequent, and once forgotten and conquered diseases are again spreading across the planet.

The political and economic situation leaves much to be desired, and UN experts warn of the threat of global hunger and a new pandemic.

Complicating the situation is the recent outbreak of monkeypox- a dangerous viral disease, the symptoms of which resemble once conquered smallpox. The lethality of this infection ranges from one to ten percent and poses a serious threat to world health.

Viruses attack and even win

The company of monkeypox is severeacute hepatitis of unknown etiology in children. To date, the infection has been detected in 33 countries, and the number of confirmed cases has almost reached 1000. Needless to say, the outbreak of new hepatitis is an unusual phenomenon and requires detailed study. You can learn more about this disease here.

Alas, monkeypox and new hepatitis are justtip of the iceberg. Thus, poliomyelitis was detected in the wastewater of London, and outbreaks of ebola and dengue fever occur with enviable regularity in African countries.

Moreover, avian influenza, chronic wasting disease (zombie deer disease) and foot-and-mouth disease in cattle pose a threat to global public health.

Bats are carriers of many dangerous pathogens.

Potentially, these zoonotic infections couldtransmitted to humans, and the greatest concern is caused by avian influenza, which has already overcome the interspecies barrier. Today, fortunately, the disease does not spread in the human population. But if this does happen, the mortality rate will be at least 50%.

Accelerated evolution

But back to monkeypox, which is not talked aboutless than new mutations of COVID-19. At the same time, the history of the emergence and development of monkeypox remains unclear, and rodents and some primates are the likely intermediate host.

Recently, in the journal Nature Medicine,published a study, the results of which showed that the monkeypox virus mutated much more strongly than most scientists expected. After reconstructing the genetic data of the new mutations, the researchers concluded that the detected genetic variations may indicate "accelerated evolution."

Accelerated viral evolution - a branch of evolutionary biology and virology devoted to the development of viruses.

The process of formation of pustules in monkeypox looks like this

Recall that monkeypox can be transmittedbetween people by airborne droplets, in close contact with infected and contaminated surfaces. As the authors of the new study write, the virus is likely to be a descendant of smallpox defeated in the last century, and the findings provide clues to ongoing viral evolution.

In this case, the mutations appear to help the virus adapt to human-to-human transmission. João Paulo Gomes of the Portuguese National Institute of Health notes that 50 identified mutations were a complete surprise for everyone. At the same time, it is impossible to exclude the very possibility that the virus circulated in the human population “for many years”.

How did humanity defeat smallpox and stop the outbreak in our country? Tells my colleague Ramin Geniev, don't miss it!

Disease-X and other troubles

The fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is not the first andthe latter seems to be known to all. The question is whether the world is ready for a new epidemic, which is bound to happen sooner or later. Alas, most experts agree that humanity is not ready for another pandemic. We have not really figured out the covid, and the problems facing our civilization are becoming more and more serious.

Nothing lasts forever in the universe

As shown by the results of several scientificresearch, the emergence of new dangerous diseases will occur due to rapid climate change. Rising temperatures will force wildlife to move to more populated areas. This, in turn, will dramatically increase the risk of transmitting the virus to humans.

Professor Jean-Jacques Muembe Tamfum, who helpeddiscovered the Ebola virus in 1976, shared his opinion with CNN reporters: “We live in a world where new pathogens are constantly emerging. This poses a serious threat to all of humanity.”

Experts of the World Organization agree with himhealth (WHO) and other scientists - a hypothetical outbreak of the so-called "disease-X" could claim millions of lives. Climate change has already led to outbreaks of a wide variety of diseases in animals, humans and even Antarctic fish.

Many animals are carriers of deadly diseases.

Recently, biologists from the University of Californiastudied a unique group of fish that have adapted to the harsh polar conditions. But during a 2018 field expedition, scientists noticed something very strange: a large number of Antarctic fish were struck by giant tumors.

As further international studies showed, the tumors appeared as a result of a parasitic disease, the outbreak of which occurs near Antarctica on a scale never seen before. But what will happen next?

Read even more interesting articles on our channel in Yandex.Zen. There are regularly published articles that are not on the site.

Waiting for extinction

Military conflicts, mass migrations of the population andwild animals are destroying the world we once knew. I don’t know about you, but the words of Agent Smith in the first (iconic) Matrix come to mind more and more often – 1999 was probably the dawn of our civilization.

Thus, representatives of the scientific community talk aboutthe beginning of the sixth mass extinction of wildlife, which occurs through the fault of man. Wild animals are losing their natural habitat and are increasingly coming into contact with humans. Which, as you probably already know, leads to the spread of zoonotic diseases and is fraught with the very “disease-X”.

Is it possible that the worst is yet to come?

Don't Miss: The Mathematics of the End of the World: Can Scientific Progress Lead to the Death of Mankind?

Right now a lot of factors threaten the survival of our species. So, British Astronomer Royal SirMartin Rees predicted the novel coronavirus pandemic to date back in 2014. Alas, he also expects the imminent extinction of mankind, believing that by the year 2500 the planet will be inhabited by completely different species of living organisms.

In general, as the American once saidstand-up comedian George Carlin, the planet will be fine, unlike humanity. I tend to agree with him, although such a pessimistic attitude is not correct, as we have enough knowledge and resources to prevent the most terrible and sad consequences of climate change and a future pandemic. So let's not forget about it.