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Preparing For Disease X

Disease X is the name given by scientists to a hypothetical unknown pathogen that could emerge to cause a pandemic. Where will it come from? When will it arrive? And are we ready for it? 

The world knows all too well the havoc that can be wreaked by an unknown pathogen. When SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, emerged in late 2019, it was a new and novel virus, meaning the challenge of predicting its behaviour and enacting public health measures in response to it significantly increased in complexity.  

Scientists are increasingly concerned that another, future pandemic is not a matter of “if” but “when”. What will it look like, where will it come from and how do we prepare for a disease that doesn’t exist yet? What lessons have we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that will better equip us when Disease X arrives? And what are some of the new innovations in the pipeline in disease eradication more broadly?

This panel discussion brings together leading experts working at the forefront of medicine and public health to shine a light on this most important of subjects. 


  • Dr Charlie Weller—Head of Prevention, Infectious Disease, Wellcome. 
  • Kate Kelland—Chief Scientific Writer, CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), author of Disease X: The 100 Days Mission to End Pandemics.  
  • Professor David Heymann—Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Head of the World Health Organisation Containment Advisory Group.
  • Tulip Mazumdar (Chair)—Global Health Journalist