Research and innovation on the new coronavirus
A commentary from the WHO reports on the scientific effort to step up to the challenge. On Feb 10–12, 2020, WHO brought almost 400 scientists together for a research and innovation forum on the new coronavirus. Urgent priorities and work plans were identified by the scientists. These included understanding human transmission of the new virus; the role of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gloves, and aprons; optimizing clinical management; preventive interventions to protect health workers treating patients with the disease; and studying the effects of restrictions on movement, such as with mass quarantines. The forum also addressed important social and behavioural questions, including effective ways to address fear, rumours, and stigma; optimal strategies to promote adherence to public health measures; how to involve communities in the design, delivery, and dissemination of clinical research findings; and how to work with the media on public health messaging. Looking forward, the emphasis was on better preparation, especially important in low resourced/poorer countries, where resource-intensive interventions are unfortunately not an option.