HealthThe biggest threat: New viruses that could ignite another pandemic

The biggest threat: New viruses that could ignite another pandemic

The most dangerous viruses. They constitute the biggest.
The most dangerous viruses. They constitute the biggest.
Images source: © Getty Images | janiecbros
9:11 PM EST, December 11, 2023

Though we cannot predict the precise timing, evidence suggests the advent of another pandemic is inevitable. Four specific viruses have been flagged by scientists as potential global threats.

Research published in the "British Medical Journal" warns of a potential twelvefold increase in deaths related to viruses presently linked to animals by 2050. Scientists highlight four particular viruses that might trigger future pandemics. These include Ebola and Marburg, SARS, Nipah, and Machupo. These viruses, notorious for their lethal potential, rank on the World Health Organization (WHO)'s "priority diseases" list.

Ebola and Marburg

Ebola and Marburg, rooted in bats, are highly contagious, lethal viruses. Despite their potential for spread, their worldwide propagation in the near term seems unlikely, according to Professor Paul Hunter. Presently, there's a noted rise in cases of these diseases in Africa.

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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), prompted by a coronavirus akin to the one responsible for COVID-19, is another virus that could potentially instigate a pandemic. SARS, spread through droplets, demonstrated its virulence in 2003 when it quickly diffused across numerous countries.


Professor Hunter also warns about the Nipah virus, which spreads via fruit bats and livestock. Nipah assaults the brain and can prove fatal in up to 75 percent of cases. While its transmission among humans is currently ineffective, there's apprehension that this could change.

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Machupo, also known as "black typhus" or Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, is yet another virus that could engulf the world in a pandemic. The virus, propagated by rodents, has potential for human-to-human transmission, capable of causing symptoms similar to those of the Ebola virus.

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In conclusion: Vigilance is crucial

Faced with these threats, maintaining high vigilance is imperative. Each of the mentioned viruses carries a potential risk and could stir a global epidemic. Hence, it's vital for scientists and healthcare systems worldwide to be prepared for future challenges.

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