Around 300 leading health experts from across the world have assessed the casualties and incidence of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 disease. In a two-day meeting held in Geneva, they discussed a strategy for developing drugs and vaccines before epidemics, and accelerating research and development while they occur.
The experts identified gaps and committed to work together to accelerate and fund priority research needed to help stop the outbreak and prepare for any future outbreaks.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, DG, WHO, said, “This outbreak is a test of solidarity -- political, financial and scientific. We need to come together to fight a common enemy that does not respect borders, ensure that we have the resources necessary to bring this outbreak to an end and bring our best science to the forefront to find shared answers to shared problems. Research is an integral part of the outbreak response.”
The experts discussed all aspects of the outbreak and ways to control it. Issues including natural history of the virus, its transmission and diagnosis and animal and environmental research on the origin of the virus were discussed.
They also discussed epidemiological studies, clinical characterization and management of disease caused by the virus.
They focused on infection prevention and control, including best ways to protect healthcare workers and research and development for candidate therapeutics and vaccines. Ethical considerations for research and integration of social sciences into the outbreak response were also discussed.