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Coronavirus officially named

13 Feb, 2020 - 00:02 0 Views
Coronavirus officially named

The Herald

GENEVA. — The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday announced a new name of the deadly novel coronavirus disease and said the vaccines to the novel coronavirus could be available in 18 months.

The novel coronavirus disease now has an official name COVID-19, which stands for the coronavirus disease originated in 2019, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

Under the guidelines of the WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health, and Food and Agriculture Organisation, the name for the disease has to avoid reference to a geographic location, an animal, an individual, or group of people, Tedros said.

“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising; it also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks,” he added.

Despite the on-going global research effort, the WHO chief estimated that it could take 18 months for the first COVID-19 vaccine to be ready. For the moment, he recommends basic precaution measures for the public such as washing hands regularly either with alcohol-based drop or soap, keeping distance from people who are coughing or sneezing, and covering the mouth and nose with tissue or the elbow when coughing or sneezing.

While reiterating that now is a window opportunity to fight the disease as most of the cases have so far remained in China, Tedros also expressed his concerns for the virus to spread to the countries with weaker public health system, which he said “will create havoc”.

He said that as time passes, his confidence in stopping the outbreak will depend on the strength of measures taken, hence asking all countries to be “as aggressive as possible” and not to allow the virus “have a space” for regional transmission.

At Tuesday’s briefing, the WHO also announced that it will initiate a UN Crisis Management Team against the virus, while bringing in other UN agencies.

To fast-track the global research on the disease, a two-day WHO-coordinated research and innovation forum was held in Geneva on Tuesday with about 400 scientists and researchers as well as some 25 funders from around world, to discuss a priority research agenda for the COVID-19 outbreak.

The event, organised in collaboration with the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness, focuses on pursuing critical research and the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, among other innovations. — Xinhua.

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