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WHO to convene global forum on coronavirus research on February 11-12

The forum would be attended by researchers from all over the world, including China

GENEVA, February 6. /TASS/. The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to convene a global research and innovation forum to study the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on February 11-12. The forum’s aim is to set priorities and frameworks for combating the disease, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday during a press conference in Geneva.

"Harnessing the power of science is critical for bringing this outbreak under control," he said. "There are questions we need answers to, and tools we need developed as quickly as possible. WHO is playing an important coordinating role by bringing the scientific community together to identify research priorities and accelerate progress."

He noted that the forum would be attended by researchers from all over the world, including China. The aim of the meeting is to speed up development of tests, vaccine and medicine to combat the virus.

The WHO chief reminded of the calls for donations to the tune of $675 mln to combat the spread of the disease. He added that financial aid should be concentrated in priority areas, which need to be discussed during the upcoming forum.

A news release published on the WHO website informs that the forum will be held on February 11-12 in Geneva. "Experts will build on existing SARS and MERS coronavirus research and identify knowledge gaps and research priorities in order to accelerate scientific information and medical products most needed to minimize the impact of the 2019-nCoV outbreak," the message says.

"The meeting is expected to produce a global research agenda for the new coronavirus, setting priorities and frameworks that can guide which projects are undertaken first," the press release notes.

"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," the message quotes WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan as saying.