China sets up research team to combat coronavirus spread

coronavirus case

Beijing: China has set up a national research team of 14 experts has been set up to help prevent and control the latest novel coronavirus outbreak after 830 new cases were confirmed in the country, with 25 fatalities so far, authorities said on Friday.

The Ministry of Science and Technology said that the anti-virus research team is a part of the its emergency sci-tech project, which was jointly launched with the National Health Commission and other departments at a recent meeting, reports Xinhua news agency.

The project will offer sci-tech support on 10 research aspects, including virus tracking, virus transmission, detection methods, genome evolution and vaccine development.

Respiratory scientist Zhong Nanshan was appointed head of the team.

Zhong, also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, is renowned for his work in China’s fight against the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

The National Health Commission on Friday said that for the first time, a death was recorded in the province of Hebei, in the northeast, surrounding Beijing.

Until then all victims had been registered in the province of Hubei, the capital of which is Wuhan, a city of about 11 million people and the epicentre of the outbreak.

The symptoms of the new coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV provisionally by the World Health Organization (WHO), are in many cases similar to those of a cold, but may be accompanied by fever and fatigue, dry cough and dyspnea (shortness of breath).

For its part, the WHO on Thursday decided against declaring an international emergency, although it asked China to increase surveillance in an epidemic that poses a “very high” risk nationally and internationally.

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