GENEVA, February 12. /TASS/. The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently working on a master plan that would coordinate clinical research on coronavirus, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Wednesday.
"WHO is now developing a master plan for coordinating clinical trials and ensuring they are done coherently and consistently," he said.
In his words, research groups are currently meeting with leading research funders to start work on the most pressing questions immediately.
"Some of these issues include easy to apply diagnostics, the best approaches for infection prevention, potential therapies that could be used to treat patients, existing vaccine candidates and how to accelerate them," Ghebreyesus added.
As part of its measures to respond to the crisis, the World Health Organization has sent masks, gloves and medical gowns to 18 countries worldwide to protect health workers amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
"We continue to support countries with the tools and equipment they need now to diagnose cases and protect health workers," Ghebreyesus said.
"We have shipped diagnostic kits to laboratories around the world, and we will continue to do so," the WHO chief continued. "And we’re also sending supplies of masks, gloves, gowns and other personal protective equipment to protect frontline health workers in 18 countries that need our support, and we have more in the pipeline."
Besides, Ghebreyesus said that a frontline group of experts, sent by the WHO to China, has achieved certain progress in its work. The group, led by a Canadian epidemiologist and emergencies expert, Dr. Bruce Aylward, is supposed to prepare for the arrival of a larger international team. The group comprises 10 experts, but can be increased to include 15 members if necessary.
"Our advance team in China has made good progress in working out the composition of the team and the scope of its work. We hope to have more news to announce soon," the WHO director general said.
On December 31, Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of an unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan - a large trade and industrial center in central China populated by 11 million people. The source of the outbreak is the COVID-19 coronavirus. The disease spread to 24 more countries outside China, including Russia. WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency.
The Chinese authorities have confirmed 44,600 cases of the novel coronavirus infection. More than 1,100 of those infected have already died, while over 4,700 recovered.