Virus warning: Scientists pin date for ANOTHER pandemic as deadly as Covid-19 to strike

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The death and chaos caused by the arrival of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has brought the globe to an unprecedented standstill last year. At the height of the pandemic, hundreds of millions of people were forced to isolate, bringing entire industries to a grinding halt and putting a strain on economic growth and progress. And if that was not terrifying enough, scientists are sounding the alarm bells on another dealy outbreak that could occur as early as 2078.

According to new research published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Covid-scale pandemics may be much more frequent than previously thought.

As of August 23, coronavirus has infected more than 211.7 million people and has claimed the lives of more than 4.43 million – the deadliest viral outbreak of the century.

But a statistical analysis of historical records over the last 400 years shows deadly outbreaks of new diseases are not exactly rare.

In this century alone there have been three outbreaks of coronavirus-related diseases, with the SARS and MERS virus in 2002 and 2012, respectively.

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Woman and doctors wearing face masks

Virus warning: Scientists believe another major pandemic is likely by 2080 (Image: GETTY)

Coronavirus variants listed

Virus warning: The different variants of COVID-19 that have been identified (Image: EXPRESS)

The study, which was led by researchers from the University of Padua in Italy and the University of Duke in the US, suggests deadly diseases are becoming more frequent and the next could strike in less than 60 years.

The scientists calculated the chances of a Covid-scale pandemic occurring.

Quite worryingly, they found someone born in the year 2000 has a 38 percent chance of experiencing a pandemic by now.

And the probability of a pandemic on a similar scale occurring in a year is about two percent – a figure the researchers believe is growing.

William Pan, the study’s author and associate professor of global environmental health at Duke, said: “The most important takeaway is that large pandemics like COVID-19 and the Spanish Flu are relatively likely.”

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Before the outbreak of Covid, the Spanish Flu was the deadliest pandemic to sweep across the globe.

Arriving off the back of World War 1 in 1918, the deadly influenza is estimated to have killed upwards of 30 million people by 1920.

The probability of a similar pandemic breaking out over the studied period ranged from 0.3 to 1.9 percent per year.

In other words, it is statistically likely a similar-scaled disease would occur again within the next 400 years.

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Virus warning: The study calculated the chances of a major outbreak in a year (Image: GETTY)

Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918

Virus warning: Before COVID-19, the Spanish Flu was the deadliest pandemic (Image: GETTY)

Based on the rate at which new pathogens have attacked human populations, the researchers estimate the likelihood of another outbreak will grow threefold in the coming decades.

And the researchers have warned chances are a disease powerful enough to wipe out the human population could strike within the next 12,000 years.

The findings do not suggest large-scale diseases strike the planet like clockwork.

Instead, the scientists highlighted a statistical probability of pandemics occurring in a year during the studied timeframe.

Gabriel Katul, one of the study’s co-authors, said: “When a 100-year flood occurs today, one may erroneously presume that one can afford to wait another 100 years before experiencing another such event.

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“This impression is false. One can get another 100-year flood the next year.”

The scientists have been unable to specify why these outbreaks are becoming more frequent.

Likely, rapid population growth and the destruction of natural habitats due to urban sprawl and agriculture are to blame.

Dr Pan said: “This points to the importance of early response to disease outbreaks and building capacity for pandemic surveillance at the local and global scales, as well as for setting a research agenda for understanding why large outbreaks are becoming more common.”

Scientists have previously warned deadly outbreaks like COVID-19 are being driven by the consumption of meat.

A report published by experts from the University of the Free State (UFS) in South Africa claimed to come.

It is believed SARS-CoV-2 was contracted from an animal source in China’s Wuhan City – likely from an infected bat.

The coronavirus family of pathogens is zoonotic, meaning they can infect both humans and animals.

To date, scientists have only discovered seven human coronaviruses although many more are likely lurking in the wild.

Human coronaviruses were first discovered in the mid-Sixties, with the 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 viruses most commonly infecting people.

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