The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the first vaccine for coronavirus could be ready in 18 months.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO girector-general, said this at a press conference on Tuesday.
He said the official name for the disease strain caused by the new coronavirus is COVID-19. He said the name was coined from “CORONAVIRUS, DISEASE and “2019”, the year the strain was first discovered.
He added that a new name had to be coined to avoid stigmatisation.
“We now have a name the disease and it’s COVID-19 ,” Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.
“We had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease.
“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.
“As of 6am Geneva time this morning, there were 42,708 confirmed cases reported in China, and tragically we have now surpassed 1000 deaths – 1017 people in China have lost their lives to this virus. Most of the cases and most of the deaths are in Hubei province, Wuhan.
“If the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider the virus as public enemy number one, I don’t think we will learn from our lessons.
“We are still in containment strategy and should not allow the virus to have a space to have local transmission.
“The development of vaccines and therapeutics is one important part of the research agenda – but it is only one part. They will take time to develop, but in the meantime, we are not defenceless. There are many basic public health interventions that are available to us now, and which can prevent infections now.
“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.
“We’ve sent supplies to countries to diagnose and treat patients and protect health workers.”
The disease, which first broke out in the Wuhan province of China, has infected 42,708 people and claimed 1,017 across at least 25 countries worldwide.