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Sara Swann
By Sara Swann August 7, 2023

Conspiracy theorists falsely claim ‘Disease X’ is the next ‘plandemic’

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  • For years, scientists have used the term "Disease X" to refer to a potential global epidemic that would cause illness for which a vaccine has not yet been created.

  • Scientists worldwide are preparing for Disease X by working to develop safe and effective vaccines within 100 days of new pandemic threats being identified.

In a new United Kingdom research facility, scientists are preparing for "Disease X," a term they use to describe the next potential global pandemic. But online posts are claiming it’s evidence the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics have been planned.

"Disease X, the Next Plandemic," says text and a voice-over on a June 1 TikTok video that shows headlines about Disease X and the next potential global pandemic.

"Plandemic" refers to a 2020 documentary full of false conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic.

TikTok identified this video as part of its efforts to counter inauthentic, misleading or false content. (Read more about PolitiFact's partnership with TikTok.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset in 2020, there have been numerous conspiracy theories claiming it was planned that have been repeatedly debunked.

Disease X is not a new term. For years, scientists have used it to refer to any undiscovered human disease that could lead to an international epidemic.

In 2015, the World Health Organization first developed a list of "priority pathogens" to identify and prepare for diseases that could cause global outbreaks or pandemics. Since then, the WHO has continually updated the list. The current priority diseases are:

According to the WHO, Disease X "represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease."

At the recently opened research center in southwest England, scientists are working to prepare for Disease X by assessing animal viruses that could infect humans and pathogens that do not yet have a vaccine. Scientists will also identify areas where immunizations could be improved, such as with flu shots or mpox vaccinations, The Guardian reported.

This work is part of the "100 Days Mission," a global effort to make safe and effective vaccines against any potential pandemic threat within 100 days of identification. It is not evidence that scientists are plotting the next pandemic.

We rate the claim that Disease X is "the next plandemic" False.

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Conspiracy theorists falsely claim ‘Disease X’ is the next ‘plandemic’

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