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Coronavirus: What's still not known about COVID-19

Coronavirus: What's still not known about COVID-19
the spike in kovat 19 cases has prompted more questions for doctors on how the virus spreads now for more on why doctors are finding the fight against covin 19 so challenging we're joined now by dr. John Connelly he's an infectious disease specialist who attended the World Health Organization meetings in Geneva dr. Conley joins us now from Calgary sir thank you for making time for us let's begin with your assessment from those meetings at the World Health Organization

what

are the most critical factors in fighting kovat 19 the meeting developed eight immediate actions from looking at items to provide rapid diagnostic tests to looking at

what

therapies might be available

what

new treatments might be available

what

is the animal reservoir

what

are the most effective protective equipment and then how do we best communicate that so those are the immediate goals that have been set from the meeting and at this stage

what

do we know about this virus how did it come to be

what

how did it become

what

it is now and

what

is it mutating into do we have a sense of any of that we do know from published material that the virus is very similar to a Asian bat

coronavirus

so in that respect it's not so different from growing the virus that caused SARS and the one that caused the Middle East respiratory disease both of which had origins in bat populations and one of the questions is it was there an intermediate animal vector such as the asian anteater much like the camel was the...
coronavirus what s still not known about covid 19
intermediate vector in the Middle East at this stage

what

are the biggest challenges in fighting this virus the biggest challenge is the efficiency of transmission it's some

what

different than SARS and MERS

coronavirus

and that we have a more efficient means of transmission and that appears to be one of the difficulties and combine that with the fact that there was a large number of people who are gathered in Wuhan and China and who Bay Province at the time because it was during the holiday period there was the ability for it to be able to transmit to secondary and tertiary Jesus and we saw that occurring and then it spread from there you've mentioned China of course it is the epicenter of where the virus popped up where it is spreading where the most cases and fatalities are but yet there

still

remains quite a bit of skepticism about the information coming out from China including some very top US officials within the White House administration expressing concern that maybe China isn't being as forthright as it should maybe they're not taking the necessary steps they need to take

what

's your assessment of how China is communicating about this and handling the problem you know from my perspective there are a number of people who video linked in there were also some Chinese colleagues who attended the meeting in Geneva and from my perspective they're being relatively forthright I do know a number of colleagues who are with the Chinese Center for Disease...
coronavirus what s still not known about covid 19
Control and they're good scientists so from that perspective I believe that the information that we're getting should be relatively reliable so

what

are the next steps that I guess globally are being undertaken to fight this virus the next steps are to be able to develop milestones and timelines with specific research questions to be able to try and answer some of the gaps that were identified at this global summit meeting that was held in Geneva recently and we expect to see those towards the end of the month there's active work going on now I've been on the email already this morning with my colleagues on my section to be able to look at mapping out the research agenda you know sir the head of the World Health Organization made an interesting comment at that summit that millions potentially billions of dollars are spent by governments around the world every year to fight terrorism and yet the spread of the next major pandemic could wipe out so many more people could be so much more lethal and so much more devastating economically and politically so from your perspective

what

is it going to take to get governments to make this a top priority I think we're seeing some of that occurring already there's been investments from a number of countries the Blenda and Bill Gates Foundation and there's expressions of interest from other governments so hopefully there'll be some solidary and solidarity and consolidation of resources that will come forward...
coronavirus what s still not known about covid 19
to be able to provide the necessary funding to move the agenda forward and based on

what

you're seeing now this is the final question in terms of the numbers the direction they're headed in are you optimistic about this is it coming under control or is there is it going to get a lot worse before we got a handle on it at this point I would say I would be cautiously optimistic we've had a couple of days of reduced numbers of case counts I know last week that occurred and people were predicting the end of this by April and then suddenly there was a jump so I think we need to see his consistent reduction over many many days in the number of new cases that are occurring but cautious optimism won't be the word I would say at this point okay so let's go with that thank you so much for your time dr. Connelly you're welcome