• By The Financial District

DOC WHO DISCOVERED EBOLA WARNS OF DEADLY ‘DISEASE X’ AFTER COVID

Humanity faces an unknown number of new and potentially fatal viruses emerging from Africa's tropical rainforests, according to Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, who helped discover the Ebola virus in 1976 and has been on the frontline of the hunt for new pathogens ever since, Sam Kiley, Ingrid Formanek and Ivana Kottasova reported for CNN.

"We are now in a world where new pathogens will come out," he told CNN. "And that's what constitutes a threat for humanity."


As a young researcher, Muyembe took the first blood samples from the victims of a mysterious disease that caused hemorrhages and killed about 88% of patients and 80% of the staff who were working at the Yambuku Mission Hospital when the disease was first discovered.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that “Disease X,” or the unexpected, may just be around the corner as people continue to feast on bushmeat and wildlife are forced to descend on urban areas as their habitats are invaded, forests are levelled and viruses jump from animals to man.


The vials of blood were sent to Belgium and the US, where scientists found a worm-shaped virus.


They called it "Ebola," after the river close to the outbreak in the country that was then known as Zaire.


Speaking exclusively to CNN in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, Muyembe warned of many more zoonotic diseases -- those that jump from animals to humans -- to come. Yellow fever, various forms of influenza, rabies, brucellosis and Lyme disease are among those that pass from animals to humans, often via a vector such as a rodent or an insect.


They've caused epidemics and pandemics before. HIV emerged from a type of chimpanzee and mutated into a world-wide modern plague.


SARS, MERS and the COVID-19 virus known as SARS-CoV-2 are all coronaviruses that jumped to humans from unknown "reservoirs" -- the term virologists use for virus' natural hosts -- in the animal kingdom.


COVID-19 is thought to have originated in China, possibly in bats. Does Muyembe think future pandemics could be worse than COVID-19, more apocalyptic? "Yes, yes, I think so," he said.



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