Health officials warn while they are convinced a deadly pandemic is coming, they still have no idea what it will be.
However, experts believe the disease or virus is likely to be respiratory, as not enough research is being put into this area and respiratory issues are difficult to spot once they have begun spreading.
A report has been released and backed by 120 scientists who give their ideas of the predicted traits of a future pathogen that may be hard to prevent.
Infectious diseases researcher Amesh Adalja from Johns Hopkins University told Live Science: “We need to get serious about respiratory viruses.
“There’s a lot of focus on diseases that aren’t going to be able to change civilisation in a way that something that’s spread through the respiratory route would be.”
While diseases such as Zika and Ebola are deadly and a serious threat to the public, they are not as problematic as pathogens which spread through the air we breathe which pose a global catastrophic biological risk (GCBR).
And while it is good to know more about diseases that already effect humanity, the problem lies in the fact that not enough is known about future pandemics, says Dr Adalja.
He adds: “Health security preparedness needs to be adaptable to new threats and not exclusively wedded to historical notions.
“A more active-minded approach to this problem will, in the end, help guard against a GCBR event occurring.”
The study says that the most dangerous GCBR-level pathogens are RNA viruses – which have the potential to rapidly mutate and would not allow health officials to work on a cure fast enough.
Dr Adalja adds that the symptoms do not have to be glaringly obvious either – they could be subtle but as not enough would be known about them, they could be deadly.
Dr Adalja said: “It just has to make a lot of people sick.
“It’s not always going to be somebody dying a horrible death … it could be a very minimal case.”