WHO calls for global forum on Wuhan coronavirus

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will be convening a global research and innovation forum to mobilise international action in response to the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). 

To be held from February 11 to 12 in Geneva, the meeting is organised in collaboration with the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness.

"Harnessing the power of science is critical for bringing this outbreak under control," said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “There are questions we need answers to, and tools we need developed as quickly as possible."

Photo courtesy: World Health Organisation
Photo courtesy: World Health Organisation

The meeting is expected to produce a global research agenda for the new coronavirus, WHO said in a statement. The outcome will set priorities and frameworks that can guide which projects are undertaken first.

The forum will bring together key players, including leading scientists as well as public health agencies, ministries of health and research funders.

“Understanding the disease, its reservoirs, transmission and clinical severity and then developing effective counter-measures is critical for the control of the outbreak, to reduce deaths and minimize the economic impact,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist.

"This will also fast-track the development and evaluation of effective diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines, while establishing mechanisms for affordable access to vulnerable populations and facilitating community engagement.