US Intelligence: World Still Vulnerable To Pathogens That Could Cause ‘Devastating Pandemic’

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Countries around the world are susceptible to another “devastating pandemic” due to the failings of global health services and the inability to effectively surveil diseases, according to US intelligence agencies.

Their warning comes just days after Sir John Bell, immunologist and testing tsar of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said another pandemic is “definitely going to happen”.

Last month the World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus also warned it’s “a matter of when, not if”.

The Mirror reports : Now, a new US intelligence report also suggests that we might be scurrying back indoors in the not-too-distant future. On Monday, March 11, alarm bells rang after the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issued its 2024 Annual Threat Assessment report.

The document looked at worldwide threats to US national security – including transnational issues – with a particular focus on those possible “during the next year”. Making a bombshell new claim, the report read: “Countries remain vulnerable to the introduction of a new or reemerging pathogen that could cause another devastating pandemic.”

Recent outbreaks of bird influenza, monkeypox, Ebola and dengue have stretched an already strained global response system – and have, at points, had experts worrying that another pandemic loomed large. Now, scientists are focusing some of their defence research on “pandemic preparedness” against the hypothetical ‘Disease X’.

While much of the ODNI’s reports focuses on economic, technological and military threats of other global superpowers – including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran – one segment looks at issues surrounding health security. Weakened national health systems, medical misinformation, slipping global health governance and public mistrust will allegedly hamper how countries react to health threats, the report claimed.

Another fast-moving virus akin to the Covid-19 outbreak could spell catastrophe. It might cripple the world’s least developed countries, according to the United Nations’ latest Human Development Report revealed on Wednesday.

It found that the coronavirus pandemic has widened the gap of health, education and wealth disparities between the world’s most and least developed – rising to the highest levels in nearly a decade.

The risk of another global pandemic depends on a number of factors. China’s reluctance to share information about the origins of Covid-19 has hampered experts’ understanding of how the last global pandemic started. “Beijing continues to resist sharing critical and technical information about coronaviruses and to blame other countries, including the United States, for the pandemic,” the report read.

Another key issue discussed was the decrease in healthcare workers, with the world reportedly set to see a drop-off of 10 million by 2030. Disregarding health protocols set out by the UN by governments and health institutions around the world may also hinder response to a pandemic, according to US intelligence agencies’ insights.

Humans’ treatment of the planet can trigger “drivers for infectious disease emergence” due partly to deforestation and the killing and sale of wildlife, it added. “International travel and trade, inadequate global disease surveillance and control,” may cause an epidemic to shift to a pandemic.

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