World Health Organization renames coronavirus as COVID-19

Laverne Higgins
February 15, 2020

WHO is also strengthening lab capacity all over the world and training thousands of health workers.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of World Health Organization mentioned that, "Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing".

According to Tedros, the disease presents a very grave threat for the rest of the world, but the world is not defenseless even though there are no vaccines against COVID-19.

Under the guidelines of the WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the name for the disease has to avoid references to a geographic location, an animal, an individual or group of people, Dr Tedros said.

Previously, Covid-19 was called as the 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease by WHO, and China's National Health Commission temporarily called it novel coronavirus pneumonia.

"This outbreak could still go in any direction" - WHO's Tedros says of coronavirus. The Verge pointed out that within a month of the virus being reported, the U.S.'s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started shipping diagnostic testing kits it developed to labs in the United States and internationally.

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"The first vaccine could be ready in 18 months, so we have to do everything today using the available weapons to fight this virus while preparing for the long-term". That's why reaching out to the public directly and telling them the precautions they should take.

These include decisions surrounding 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, and what Tedros described as the "infodemic" - the overwhelming quantity of information, being produced and disseminated worldwide.

To fast-track the global research on the disease, a two-day WHO-coordinated research and innovation forum was held in Geneva on Tuesday to gather about 400 scientists and researchers as well as some 25 funders from around world to discuss a priority research agenda for the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Wednesday morning, Geneva time, there were 44,730 cases of COVID-19 in China, with 1,114 deaths.

As the death toll from the Coronavirus contagion continues to rise, numerous countries are issuing travel bans to and fro from China. We've advised countries on how to prevent the spread of disease and care for those who are sick. Public has been educated to protect their own health and that of others.

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