WHO says novel coronavirus vaccine could be ready in 18 months

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(CNN Philippines, February 12) – The World Health Organization said Tuesday the first vaccine for the novel coronavirus may be available a year and a half from now, as it warned that the new virus poses a “very grave threat for the rest of the world.”

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland also announced a new name for the outbreak — Corona Virus Disease or COVID-19.

He stressed the need to “do everything today using the available weapons to fight this virus, while preparing for the long-term.”

Even with the absence of a specific vaccine and treatment, countries are not “defenseless,” Tedros said, adding that there are many public health intervention, which could prevent infections now.

The WHO chief noted that people globally should continue to take the necessary precautions in the meantime while health experts race to suppress the outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China. WHO now calls the disease caused by the new virus as Corona Virus Disease or COVID-19.

He then reiterated his appeal for donations which will be used to develop and evaluate effective diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines.

Meanwhile, Dr. Michael J. Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization, said in the same briefing that “one clinical trial is already on the way” in China in a bid to find a cure to the novel coronavirus, CNN reported Wednesday.

Ryan was also quoted by CNN as saying that the WHO was working with Chinese health authorities to implement further clinical trials.

The new coronavirus infection has killed over 1,100 people and has sickened over 43,000, mostly in mainland China, but Tedros said "we have a realistic chance of stopping the #COVID19 outbreak.”