HUMANS VS. DEADLY PATHOGEN X
“We are overdue for the next pandemic. None of us, nobody, would have immunity.”
– Alex Azar
The World Health Organization (WHO) has disturbed the global population after it announced in March of 2018, the list of the deadliest microbes able to hurt our daily lives. It is evident that the molecular warriors make a lot of damage, but this time something was a little bit different since we got a chance to meet a hypothetical Mr. X virus. What does it mean? The scientists put efforts every year to come out with their predictions based on the ground facts about the expected and potential biological threatens to the public health. The hazardous viruses like Ebola and Lassa are always taken into the consideration as the ultimate indicators of the severe haemorrhagic fevers with pandemic attributes. The surprise was one of the pathogens described only with the scary X factor but highly ordered as the causer of the new and historic international outbreaks with catastrophic outcomes.
According to the researchers of these phenomena, the new and mysterious microbe that has been added to the watch list for the first time is actually a code for any disease that pose major public health risks and that should be prevented through the appropriate surveillance. John-Arne Rottingen, chief executive of the Research Council of Norway and a scientific adviser to the WHO committee said: „History tells us that it is likely the next big outbreak will be something we have not seen before. It may seem strange to be adding an ‘X’ but the point is to make sure we prepare and plan flexibly in terms of vaccines and diagnostic tests. We want to see ‘plug and play’ platforms developed which will work for any, or a wide number of diseases; systems that will allow us to create countermeasures at speed. Advances in gene editing technology, which make the manipulation or creation of entirely new viruses possible, mean that Disease X could emerge through an accident or act of terror. A man-made Disease X was less likely than a naturally occurring one but warned. Synthetic biology allows for the creation of deadly new viruses. It is also the case that where you have a new disease there is no resistance in the population and that means it can spread fast. More likely, disease X could be be sparked by a zoonotic disease – one that jumps from animals to humans – and then spreads to become an epidemic or pandemic in the same way H1N1 Swine flu virus did in 2009.”
The main purpose of this strategy developed by WHO is to make a preventive platform for scientific work and research in the field of cures and vaccines. When the outbreak happens, everything is too late. There are no all-dangerous microbes on the famous list but only those, which meet two important criteria: they have ability to cause the disorder of the global health and they do not response positive on the developed countermeasures. Only in that case study, we have to deal with the real molecular sharks, capable to destruct the whole world. The microbe itself might be not so mortal and fatal but if there fail any reasonable methods for its suspension and limited acting, the pandemic could be also activated through the panic, absence of official reaction and approved medical response. For example, MERS, SARS and Zika are also under the umbrella of menacing diseases with the creepy structure of potential pandemic beast. Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever has been targeted as the urgent to be processed through the perspective of preventive solutions. Each of those agents could be fatal on the international level and the collapse would be certain.
The epidemiologists are concerned that the new Disease X could be one of those hybrids that have jumped from one species to another. This applies on the zoonotic diseases, which have been for years observed and marked as the future plagues. Due to the industrial colonization and raping of nature made my humans, the borders of mutual respect are erased and the close contact is established in the rhythm of subrogation. The people humiliate nature, animals, and the ´bug attack´ is just a result of human greed. The invisible jumper could be deadly as Ebola, infectious as Small pox and penetrant as black plague. Every time when virus change the organic habitat, it is adapting and mutating through the new genetic challenges. This is why the medicine is always a step back in the area of developing the effective treatments. The scientists can presume about the destructive elements of the new and emerging Virus X but they cannot really figure out in which direction that genesis will go. The planet has stepped into the geological era known as Anthropocene (The Age of Man) and that shows the unlimited predominance of humankind. That is also the crucial moment of big pandemic waiting to happen and reduce the pressure of civilization on the Earth. It seems that we are producing ourselves without any control. Especially critical is in the poor regions that have no common sense for birth control but for the aggressive digesting of natural resources are responsible developed states that are in competition for more money.
These are all remarkable indicators of some of the future plagues that will occur not because we have no advanced medical research but because we have crossed our limits on the Earth. The expected microbiological doomsday is the main reason for united work of scientists in the epidemiological field. They believe that the worst scenario would be staged in big cities where the population would be reduced in the first wave of pandemics. Keeping in mind the frequency of airway traffic, the germs could be so easily transported from one country to another, from one continent to another. The real problem is that people could not be able to resist on gathering or mixing with each other’s so that could help the Disease X to overtake the leading position in health apocalypse. Starting with the Patient zero, the microbe X would have a great chance to smuggle into the overpopulated zones and to wipe off the people with no mercy. The progressed societies could probably try to solve the chaos with strong Martial Law but the violence and the growing awareness about the coming death for many would pull trigger of the global insecurity, civil conflicts and individual panic coloured with irrational behaviour. The countryside would be the shelter that would keep the last standing since the rare healthy people would leave the cities and seek for a safety in the rural districts. The cities themselves would meet the high level of crime and violence. Everyone would try to survive and with the failure of government to rule the crisis, the organized gangs and street bands would overtake the power. I believe that the civil chaos would be even more destructive for humankind as the pandemic itself. As Thomas Hobbes once wrote in his Leviathan, people cannot survive without control and civil contract since they are beasts themselves.
Back in the past, the people have been isolated without possibility to overcome the distance. The quarantine was possible but in nowadays, that is like a science fiction. Who would stop the fluctuations of people and products just in the name of stopping the virus traveling around the world? No one. The only one with legal authority are the states and their decisions could eventually reduce the risk of pandemics but the question is if that would be helpful? In the age of opened borders and free trespass, the microbiological mass murderer has an option to jump from one person to another, to turn the world into the letter of end.
Dr Ian Lipkin, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York has an opinion that the danger comes from the ability of viruses to adapt to the new host and to swap the genes, forming the unknown and resistible strain. That is the strongest weapon of the virus, its talent to steal the genetic information and to process them for its own benefit of survival. The vaccines come always later and in the meantime, the victims are numerous.
The majestic, super powerful Virus X that would open the season of biblical Armageddon may be also invented and released by people. The biological weapon is not the explosive story of the fictional writing but our actuality. It could happen at any single moment of our comforted days. It is enough that we have the lunatic with the hatred for the system or the terrorist group with killing ideology that we get the opened Pandora box. The effect of biological attack depends on the agent that is abused against the targeted population or areas. Someone must be skilled in the virology or with KNOW-HOW to be 100% successful in causing the crisis with global meaning.
Once upon a time, the modern homo idiotus used to be the homo sapiens, the human being gifted with the common sense. Unfortunately, the years of political indoctrination, religious brainwashing, economic pressure and cultural decoy have shaped people into the peons being played like in chess game and driven by the greedy instinct. It is just a matter of time when the nature will make chess mate and sent us all into the molecular memory of this planet.
15 thoughts on “DISEASE X: AN INFECTED WORLD WAITING TO HAPPEN”
Sarah’s informative and imperative article brought to mind the entity of ‘astro microbiology’: ostensibly, essential molecular compounds are similar throughout the known Universe, and the probability of millions of viruses emerging from possible habitable exoplanets infers the natural evolution of bacteria, as opposed to human-borne or influenced viruses here on Earth. In other words, microorganisms are the progenitors of all life in the known Universe (i.e. via respective solar systems, etc.), and will continue to be so long after humanity has fallen away from recorded history…
So far, the search for microbial life in extraterrestrial locations have been less than successful, though: the first of such attempts arose through NASA’s Viking programme in the 1970s; in which two Mars landers were used to conduct experiments that searched for biosignatures of life on Mars (i.e. via soil samples).
In 2008, Russian cosmonauts reported findings of sea plankton living on the outside surfaces of The International Space Station’s windows. They have yet to find explanations for the discovery, but it seems to have been a result of human contamination.
The ability of microorganisms to survive in an outer space environment was investigated to approximate upper boundaries of the biosphere and to determine the accuracy of the interplanetary transport theory for microorganisms. Among the investigated variables, solar UV radiation had the most harmful effect on microbial samples. Among all the samples, only lichens (Rhizocarpon geographicum and Xanthoria elegans) fully survived the 2 weeks of exposure to outer space. Earth’s ozone layer greatly protects against the deleterious effects of solar UV, which is why organisms typically are unable to survive without ozone protection. When shielded against solar UV, various samples were able to survive for long periods of times (e.g. spores of B. subtilis were able to proliferate in space for up to six years). The data support the likelihood of interplanetary transfer of microorganisms within meteorites (i.e. the lithopanspermia hypothesis).
Billions of years ago, cyanobacteria helped create a habitable Earth by pumping oxygen into the atmosphere, and managed to exist in the darkest corners of the Earth. Cyanobacteria, along with some other rock-eating microbes, seem to be able to withstand the harsh conditions of the vacuum of space without much effort.
Many studies on Earth have been conducted to collect data on the response of terrestrial microbes to various simulated environmental conditions of outer space. The responses of microbes (e.g. viruses, bacteria cells, bacterial and fungal spores and lichens) to isolated factors of outer space (e.g. microgravity, galactic cosmic radiation, solar UV radiation, and space vacuum) were determined in space and laboratory simulation experiments. In general, microorganisms tended to thrive in the simulated space flight environment.
We do not know if Voyager 1 (i.e. now in Interstellar Space) has any Earth-borne bacteria on it/in it. However, as on Earth, humans may indeed influence the evolution of possible bacteria in space…
What an excellent article, Sarah !
It’s only a matter of time before such a virus develops and erupts resulting in a pandemic disease that will decimate the population of the world !
“Humans” have been so haughty for too long. They think that they can subjugate all animals and subject them to torture and death, as well as engage in endless deforestation and destruction of our ecosystems with impunity !
The time has come for “humans” to be checked by virus X which will avenge all animals, all plants, and the environment !
It’s as you said, Sarah: “Due to the industrial colonization and raping of nature made my humans, the borders of mutual respect are erased and the close contact is established in the rhythm of subrogation. The people humiliate nature, animals, and the ´bug attack´ is just a result of human greed.”
In closing, what better conclusion than the one you uttered in your article, Sarah:
“Once upon a time, the modern homo idiotus used to be the homo sapiens, the human being gifted with the common sense. Unfortunately, the years of political indoctrination, religious brainwashing, economic pressure and cultural decoy have shaped people into the peons being played like in chess game and driven by the greedy instinct. It is just a matter of time when the nature will make chess mate and sent us all into the molecular memory of this planet.”
Thank you, Sarah, for this educational and well-written article !
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