Published: Sat, February 15, 2020
Medical | By Mark Scott

World Health Organization says novel coronavirus vaccine could be ready in 18 months

World Health Organization says novel coronavirus vaccine could be ready in 18 months

The word coronavirus refers to the group of viruses it belongs to, rather than the latest strain itself.

The virus itself has been designated SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

Researchers have been calling for an official name to avoid confusion and stigmatisation of any group or country.

Tedros said having a name for the new disease is important to prevent the use of other names that might be stigmatizing. They said that Covid-19, the name, gives them a standard format for talking about coronavirus outbreaks.

The "CO" is for coronavirus, the "VI" is for virus, the "D" is because it's a disease and "19" is for the year it was discovered - 2019. The number of deaths have surpassed the death toll of SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.

As pressure mounts on Beijing, state media reported that two high-ranking officials were sacked in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

But the number of new infections nationally was down nearly 20% from the day before, from 3,062 to 2,478.

With scientists still learning about how the pathogen spreads and where it came from, one thing that the United Nations health agency was able to say with certainty was that the disease has been officially named Covid-19. World Health Organization also wanted a name that was "pronounceable and related to the disease", he said. "Contact tracing with regards to the positive cases have so far identified 223 individuals who came in close contact with the patients", he said adding all of them have been places under medical supervision.

Participants will also discuss the source of the virus, which is thought to have originated in bats and reached humans via other "intermediary" species such as snakes or pangolins. Discard the tissue immediately after use, and wash your hands thereafter.

But he said it was "concerning" that person-to-person transmissions to people with no travel history to China had recently appeared in France and Britain. "Outside China, there are 393 cases in 24 countries, and 1 death", said Dr Ghebreyesus.

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