There are consequences to naming something “Disease X”. It immediately brings to mind some sort of weapons-grade pathogen of some kind that few know about – and even though it’s not really anything of the sort, it’s triggered some rather scary-sounding coverage. So what exactly is it?
The World Health Organization (WHO) occasionally releases a list of pathogens that they are prioritizing in their research and development. Through a carefully thought out process, experts highlight “diseases that pose a public health risk because of their epidemic potential and for which there are no, or insufficient, countermeasures.”