Coronavirus poses a very grave threat for the planet, WHO saysEuropost
The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that the coronavirus was a "very grave threat" for the planet, news wires reported. WHO hosts the first major conference on fighting the epidemic in Geneva, with the participation of about 400 scientists. They will review how the virus is transmitted and possible vaccines against it.
"With 99 % of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the start of the meeting.The virus, first identified in the city of Wuhan in central China on 31December, has killed more than 1,000 people, infected over 42,000 and reached some 25 countries. WHO has declared it a global health emergency.
Participants at the scientific conference will also discuss the source of the virus, which is thought to have originated in bats and reached humans via another "intermediary" species such as snakes or pangolins. WHO sent an advance team to China this week for an international mission to examine the epidemic.It was unclear, however, whether the team would be able to visit Wuhan, which has been under lockdown after the outbreak was registered in a food and live animal market in the city.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine against the virus and WHO has repeatedly urged countries to share data in order to further research into the disease. Several teams of experts in Australia, Britain, China, France, Germany and the United States are racing to develop a vaccine, a process that normally takes years.
Tedros said he hoped the scientists could agree a roadmap around which researchers and donors will align.