Disease X more likely to end civilisation than climate change, say researchers

If 20 percent of the world’s population contracted the lethal disease X at the same time vital services could collapse, with agriculture and transport being the most affected. According to the study from Professor Lewis Dartnell, author of the book ‘The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World After An Apocalypse’, humans are losing the battle in the fight against germs. The study blamed people misusing antibiotics and an over-prescription of medicines for creating a problem of drug resistance for infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Professor Dartnell, said: “An actual apocalypse is thankfully very unlikely, but the notion of the loss of everything that we take for granted today is a really good way of thinking about all we have to be grateful for in our modern lives.” 

In January, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a new Government plan to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance and said the issue needed an “urgent global response” at the World Economic Forum at Davos. 

The Government aims to control and contain drug resistance by 2040 and hopes to reduce the use of antibiotics in humans by 15 percent over the next five years. 

Medicines are often prescribed for self-healing conditions such as viruses that don’t heal through the use of antibiotics. 

Antibiotic Research UK claims that many routine medical procedures will become impossible in 10 to 15 years time if nothing is done to stop the rate of drug resistance.

Many strains of bacteria have already developed resistance to some types of antibiotics creating superbugs that can become difficult to treat. 

Last year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicted that superbugs could kill more than 90,000 in Britain by 2050 unless immediate action is taken. 

If the killer disease one day emerges, Professor Dartnell said getting a motorbike is the first priority in an apocalypse due to its manoeuvrability. He advised moving out of urban areas and into a rural coastal area.

He has also tipped household items such as tampons, for emergency wound dressing, and vaseline and hairspray, to help start a fire, as essentials needed in case of a crisis. 

The report was published in conjunction with Playstation in line with the release of new post-apocalyptic game Days Gone.

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