The development of a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus will take at least a year, according to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
The mysterious disease has infected more than 500 people and caused 17 deaths.
Scientists still know very little about the virus, GAVI’s CEO Seth Berkle said. Several organisations have begun to study the disease, but it will take “several months” before we can proceedto clinical trials.
It will take at least a year for a vaccine to be available, according to GAVI, which includes both public and private sectors.
The new coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in central China, at the end of December 2019. Cases of the new coronavirus, which is in the same family of viruses as the Middle East respiratory syndrome-related (MERS) coronavirus and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), have since been identified in Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and one case in the United States.
As fears mount that the coronavirus will spread further afield with the onset of the Chinese New Year, which will see millions of Chinese travelling within and outside of China, Belgian authorities have already decided that in the case the coronavirus arrives Saint-Pierre University Hospital in Brussels will be the treatment centre.
However, “for right now we estimate that risk of a patient in Belgium [being infected] is quite low to very low. There is certainly no reason for concern,” Joris Moonens of the Flemish Agency for Care and Health.
In addition, a risk assessment group- a team of Belgian experts led by the Belgian Institute for Health Sciences- are expected to send additional information to hospitals and doctors across Belgium this week so that medical workers know how to identify and deal with the virus in the case that it is identified.
At an emergency meeting on Wednesday, the World Health Organisation decided against declaring the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern before getting more details and information on the disease.
Beijing announced on Thursday that all public transport links and outbound flights from Wuhan are shut down, with people being discouraged from leaving the city.