The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned on Tuesday that the development of a vaccine against the disease caused by the Wuhan coronavirus, called today covid-19, will take at least a year and a half.
“The first vaccine can be ready in eighteen months, so for now we must prepare ourselves to use the weapons we have available in the fight against this virus,” Tedros said in a press conference that WHO organizes daily since last week to report the situation of the epidemic.
Tedros said that covid-19, diagnosed in 42,708 people in China (of which 1,018 have died) and in 393 patients in twenty-four other countries, should now be considered “the number one public enemy for all humanity”, with political consequences , social and economic “worse than those of any terrorist act”.
The Ethiopian doctor announced that the WHO executive director for Health Emergencies, Michael Ryan, will head a crisis cabinet launched today to coordinate the response to the epidemic between this agency and the rest of the United Nations agencies.
The WHO headquarters in Geneva hosts from today until tomorrow, Wednesday, a meeting of 400 experts from around the world in virology, epidemiology and other scientific branches to study research pathways of the hitherto known as Wuhan coronavirus and possible treatments and vaccines .
The denomination of the covid-19 disease (formed with an acronym for the English expression “corona virus disease”) has been agreed by officials of the WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE).