Novel coronavirus named ‘Covid-19’: UN health agency

GENEVA, Feb 12 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The World Health Organisation said “Covid-19” would be the new official name for the deadly coronavirus that was first identified in China on Dec 31.

“We now have a name for the disease and it’s Covid-19,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, explaining that “co” stood for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”.

Meanwhile, scientists from around the world are reviewing how Covid-19 is transmitted and possible vaccines at a WHO conference that kicked off on Tuesday.

“What matters most is stopping the outbreak and saving lives. With your support, that’s what we can do together,” Ghebreyesus said at the two-day Geneva gathering.

WHO said some 400 scientists were taking part.

The virus has killed more than 1,000 people, infected over 42,000 and reached some 25 countries.

Participants will also discuss the source of the virus, which is thought to have originated in bats and reached humans via another animal such as snakes or pangolins.

There is no specific treatment or vaccine against the virus, which can cause respiratory failure.

Tedros, who has repeatedly urged countries affected to share their data, called for global “solidarity”.

“That is especially true in relation to sharing of samples and sequences. To defeat this outbreak, we need open and equitable sharing, according to the principles of fairness and equity,” he said.

“We hope that one of the outcomes of this meeting will be an agreed roadmap for research around which researchers and donors will align,” Tedros said.

Several companies and institutes in Australia, China, France, Germany and the United States are racing to develop a vaccine — a process that normally takes years. — NNN-AGENCIES