By Analou De Vera
The World Health Organization (WHO) will be convening a global research and innovation forum on February 11 to 12 to discuss further response to stop the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019 nCoV ARD).
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the forum aims to identify research priorities and coordinate the international research effort to find therapeutics and vaccines for the 2019-nCoV ARD.
“This will be a meeting of scientists from all over the world including China, both in person and virtually. The aim is to fast track the development of effective diagnostic tests, vaccines, and medicines,” said Ghebreyesus in a press briefing.
“There is still a lot we don’t know. We don’t know the source of the outbreak, we don’t know what its natural reservoir is, and we don’t properly understand its transmitability or severity. To defeat this outbreak, we need answers to all those questions,” he said.
Ghebreyesus emphasized that “we need to be led by facts, not fear, and science, not rumors.”
The WHO official also noted that vaccines and therapeutics for the novel coronavirus will take time to develop.
“In the meantime, there are simple things everyone can do: wash your hands regularly, cover your nose and your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze. That’s personal hygiene,” he said.