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Meet Your Next Round of Diseases

Scientists in the U.K. are working on vaccines for hypothetical diseases. They call this Disease X.

Disease X is a list of viruses that could come from animals, similar to bird flu, monkeypox and hantavirus. Scientists are working on vaccines for these types of viruses to get ahead of the game in a high-security laboratory complex by a team of 200 scientists.

“What we’re trying to do here is ensure that we prepare so that if we have a new Disease X, a new pathogen, we have done as much of that work in advance as possible,” Professor Dame Jenny Harries, the head of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), told Sky News. “Hopefully we can prevent it [a pandemic]. But if we can’t and we have to respond, then we have already started developing vaccines and therapeutics to crack it.”

The clinic says they’ve had success with a vaccine for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, which they expect to test on 24 people. There has been a vaccine for that since 2010 but it was not licensed for widespread use.

The U.K. lab says that it is part of a global effort to develop a vaccine within 100 days of a new pathogen being recognized as having pandemic potential.

Reporting on this lab does not address whether or not any gain of function research happens there.

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