Global health experts point out that even as the disease that started in Wuhan City in China but has spread to other countries has so far affected over 42,000 people and killed over a thousand others , major pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson and Johnson and Merck have not yet shown interest in funding any vaccine development.
Researchers have called for quick mobilization of money by donors
to kick start critical research into Coronavirus disease.
They highlighted research and development for candidate
therapeutics and vaccines as key.
While they propose this, global health experts point out that even
as the disease that started in Wuhan City in China but has spread to other
countries has so far affected over 42,000 people and killed over a thousand others,
major pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson and Johnson and Merck have not
yet shown interest in funding any vaccine development.
At a two day meeting of global health experts that ended on
Wednesday at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva,
researcher shared notes on what they know so far about the virus and what
priorities they can embark on to stop further spread of this but also other
epidemics of the same nature that tend to spread quickly around the world.
In a statement released by WHO on Thursday, Professor Yazdan
Yazdanpanah, chairperson of the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious
Disease Preparedness that hosted the meeting said the over 300 researchers that
attended agreed that there should be continuous mobilization of resources and
aligning funding towards development of drugs and vaccines before epidemics and
accelerating research and development while they are occurring.
“ Making sure we share data and reach those most in need, in
particular those in lower and middle-income countries, is fundamental to this
work which must be guided by ethical considerations at all times”, he said.
Also, key among what was discussed is infection prevention and
control, including best ways to protect health care workers after a report
published on Friday, showed that one patient infected at least 10 healthcare
workers at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in China.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this
meeting was called on a short notice but the research community turned up in
big numbers which shows the urgency with which a concrete plan to tackle the
outbreak is needed.
“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”, he said.
However, earlier as he was talking to journalists at the sidelines
of the meeting, Tedros had said it might take more than a year before a vaccine