Coronavirus vaccine preparation may take ‘18 months’
WHO chief calls for global response as Xi says China is gaining ground against deadly outbreak
February 12, 2020 03:52 PM
The first vaccine targeting China’s coronavirus could be available in “18 months”, said WHO chief in Geneva on Tuesday, something that was taken as an alarm by the people across the world.
“So, we have to do everything today using available weapons,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The WHO is holding a conference in Geneva on combating the virus, which has killed more than 1,100 people in China and spread to dozens of countries around the world.
World Health Organization chief said the virus had been officially named COVID-19, as he emphasized the need for avoiding stigma through shunning other “inaccurate” names.
The fears about the spread of novel coronavirus were however allayed to some extent by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday.
He said China’s prevention and control work on the deadly virus was having positive results. The country would win the battle against the virus, state media reported him as telling Qatari ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in a telephone call.
“China is fighting a people’s war against the outbreak. At present, our prevention and control work has achieved positive results.”
China has the confidence and ability to win the battle against the virus due to its “strong material and technical foundations and rich practical experience,” the state media paraphrased Xi as saying in the telephone call.
In another call, made to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Xi said China would be more prosperous after “the battle against the virus is won”.
The WHO chief however stressed that there was a need for a collective global response to the COVID-19. He asked countries to be “as aggressive as possible” in fighting the new coronavirus.
Although 99 percent of the infections are in China, where it remains "very much an emergency", it also "holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world", Tedros said
“If the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider the virus as public enemy number one, I don’t think we will learn from our lessons.”
Tedros said viruses could have "more powerful consequences than any terrorist action".
“We are still in containment strategy and should not allow the virus to have a space to have local transmission,” he went on to say.
The case of a British man, who has never been to China yet passed on the virus to 11 other people, has raised fears of a new phase of contagion abroad.
"We have to use the current window of opportunity to hit hard and stand in unison to fight this virus in every corner," Tedros said.