Richard Hatchett on coronavirus: Cooperation, transparency vital
World Insight with Tian Wei

Seventeen years ago, there was the severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, SARS. Then Ebola, which is apparently much more devastating than what we have right now, the Wuhan coronavirus. So, what have we learned from SARS and Ebola that can be applied right now in the fight against the new coronavirus strain? Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), shared his opinions with CGTN's Tian Wei on the sidelines of Davos.

"I think one of the things we have learned through these various experiences is the criticality of global cooperation to work together to mobilize the world scientific community to address all the different aspects, the development of diagnostics, the development of therapeutics, the development of vaccines, the understanding of epidemiology, that's critical," said Hatchett. 

"The WHO is leading that effort and leading the coordination effort," he added. "They are doing a great job. It's a very difficult situation. There's very limited information."

Acknowledging that the body has to react and make decisions very quickly, Hatchett said in addition to global cooperation, transparency between countries is critically important, even sharing between health authorities within countries. 

Citing that when SARS happened, information sharing took longer, and there was a long delay between the first cases and the global recognition of an outbreak, Hatchett commended the way the health authorities handled the new outbreak.

"In this case, it's remarkable," he said. "The outbreak started in December. The global community was notified at the end of December, and there has been a good sharing of information over the last several weeks. The genetic data is already known, and vaccine developments are already started. The virus has already been isolated; the sequences have been shared."

New emerging diseases almost every year

Responding to a question about the perceived slow rollout of vaccines, Hatchett said, unlike with the flu virus, where regulatory agencies have adapted to produce vaccines every year, the world is "seeing new emerging diseases almost every year, every other year, every three years, and there is a long interval between these new diseases," which can affect the way viruses and vaccines are produced.

"The world and the regulatory agencies need to recognize that this is the new normal, and it is a function of the world we live in," he said. "But if that is the new normal, we need to have frameworks and technologies in place, like we have for flu, where if we need to develop a new vaccine every single year, we can do it. And we cannot do that right now, and that's a real problem."

World Insight with Tian Wei is an international platform for debate and intelligent discussion. It is the meeting point of both the highly influential and rising voices, facilitated by host Tian Wei. It provides nutrition to form your own thoughts and ideas through a live 45-minute debate and interviews.

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Time (GMT): 1415, 2015

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