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Global cooperation in push to beat COVID-19 called key

Author  :  QIU QUANLIN     Source  :    China Daily     2020-05-09

International cooperation plays a key role in global efforts to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said at an international online seminar on Friday.

"The pandemic will not be well controlled globally if it is still a serious problem in one country," said Zhong Nanshan, China's top respiratory expert.

He shared China's efforts in fighting COVID-19 and said the country still faces big challenges in getting back to a normal pace of life while keeping the novel coronavirus under control.

"Looking for balance between restoring economic and social activities and fighting the disease remains a challenge for any country," he said.

Zhong made the remarks during the seminar, which focused on multilateral experience in sharing and strategy development from the front line. It was sponsored by the Global Alliance to Combat COVID-19.

The alliance-initiated by the George W.H. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations, the US-China Coronavirus Action Network, Tencent Healthcare, China Science and Healthcare and the Peking University Health Science Center-aims to engage top healthcare experts around the world in cooperative platform efforts.

It plans to build two platforms, including a doctor-to-doctor cooperation platform through a series of online forums, seminars and consultations and a doctor-to-patient platform, expected to be a free internet medical consultation site for COVID-19 patients around the world.

China's first doctor-to-patient online medical consultation platform, providing free instant online services for overseas Chinese, has seen more than 4,000 doctors participate and has served more than 400,000 patients.

"We are activating all scientific, academic, industrial, nonprofit and governmental resources available from and in China and the US in a coordinated effort to address the key challenges of containing the virus," Zhong said.

Top experts from China and the United States participating in the seminar discussed topics such as challenges ahead in the global battle against COVID-19, ways to mitigate the effects of the crisis and the progress in vaccine development.

"Maintaining social distancing and wearing masks has played a decisive role in hindering the spread of the virus," said Zhong, citing China's experience.

Three vaccine candidates in China-one each developed by the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co and the Institute of Laboratory Animal Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences-have entered clinical trials, he said.

"Vaccines will be the key to ultimately tackling the virus," said Zhong.

Barry Bloom, a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, called for more joint efforts worldwide to develop more fast and efficient technologies to test for the virus.

"We still need more fast testing measures for the virus, so that, for example, results could be announced within 15 minutes, given that many countries are still being hit hard by the pandemic,"Bloom said.

Concerns about COVID-19 might last for years, Bloom said.

"What will the new normal be like? Perhaps people will still worry about a comeback of COVID-19 or the pandemic becoming a seasonal disease," he said.




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