(Yicai Global) Feb. 12 -- Although the new coronavirus outbreak has claimed more lives than the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic did in 2003, it is possible to stop it from spreading, according to the head of the World Health Organization.
"If we invest now in rational and evidence-based interventions, we have a realistic chance of stopping this outbreak," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO told Yicai Global at a press conference in Geneva yesterday.
The WHO has declared a global health emergency due to the virus outbreak that has killed 1,114 people in China and spread to over 25 countries.
More than 400 scientists around the world are putting their heads together to come up with a vaccine to combat the new virus and a solution should be expected within 18 months, according to Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
But the first African leader of the international health alliance reminded that investment is needed not only in research and development but also in containing the epidemic. "There are many positive signals in terms of funding, and we hope that all these signals will materialize."
Governments and philanthropists around the world have pledged their support for the cause. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has earmarked USD100 million while Chinese firms, such as Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, have donated millions of dollars.
"You strike hard when the window of opportunity is there. That's what we're saying to the rest of the world. Let's be serious in using the window of opportunity we have. The opportunity was created because of the serious measures China is taken in Wuhan and other cities."
Editor: Emmi Laine