A Call to Duty
An effective response to COVID-19 requires collaboration that transcends borders
By Yan Wei  ·  2020-03-03  ·   Source: Web Exclusive


U.S. non-profit organization Medshare unveils donations of medical supplies in San Leandro, California, on February 10, to aid China's ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus (CNSPHOTO)  

China and the U.S. should spearhead global efforts to cope with common challenges to public health posed by the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), experts said.  

“Before it’s too late, President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping must demonstrate global leadership and join together to pool their significant scientific resources, literally, for the good of all humankind,” John R. Allen, President of the Brookings Institution, wrote in an article published on the think tank’s website.   

The two countries need to set a course not only to solve this global emergency, but also to prevent possible future ones, he added. 

In a speech on February 23, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for expanded international cooperation, including communication with the World Health Organization and information sharing. Since COVID-19 has broken out in a number of countries, China is ready to collaborate with the affected countries in research on the origin of the virus, medicines, vaccines and virus testing, making its contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity, he added. 

Many entities in the U.S. have responded to this public health challenge. For instance, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged up to $100 million in emergency funding. Most of the funds will be spent helping China bolster epidemiological research, emergency intervention, and the research and development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics. 

Harvard Medical School scientists will join forces with Chinese counterparts led by Zhong Nanshan, a renowned pulmonologist and epidemiologist, to develop therapies to prevent new infections and treat existing ones. 

“The novel coronavirus and the disease that it causes have already resulted in a global health crisis, the repercussions of which are already reverberating across fields outside of healthcare,” Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley told The Harvard Gazette. “A crisis like this calls for scientific and humanitarian collaborations that transcend borders. For us, as scientists, this is nothing less than a call to duty.

Copyedited by Madhusudan Chaubey  

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