The World Health Organisation has confirmed UN agencies have decided to assign a new name to the novel coronavirus: Covid-19.
Under the guidelines of the WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the name for the new virus could not refer to specific geographical locations, animals or people.
"Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference in Geneva.
More than 300 scientists are involved in the talks with Mr Ghebreysus labelling the epidemic an "emergency".
The World Health Organization convened outside experts to try to speed the development of tests, treatments and vaccines against the new coronavirus, as doctors on the front lines experiment on patients with various drugs in hopes of saving lives in the meantime.
The 400 scientists participating in the two-day meeting — many remotely — will try to determine which approaches seem promising enough to advance to the next step: studies in people to prove if they really work.
"We prioritise what is really urgent, what we absolutely need to know to fight the outbreak, to develop drugs, vaccines," said Marie-Paule Kieny, co-chair of the meeting and a viral-disease specialist at the French research institution INSERM.
That will allow science to "focus on what is the most pressing issue and not to disperse too much the efforts."
Also on the agenda: Is it possible to build a standing supply of drugs similar to the vaccine stockpiles that exist for diseases such as yellow fever and Ebola?
"If any of these drugs does show an effect, there will be massive demand," Dr Graham Cooke, a professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London, said earlier this week.
This comes as experts claim billions could soon be infected if the virus is not contained.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying the epidemic was "very much an emergency" for China but also "one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world".
He said there was still a window of opportunity to shut down the outbreak.
Hong Kong's leading epidemiologist, Professor Gabriel Leung, told The Guardian on his way to the Geneva summit that anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of the world's population could contract the virus if it wasn't contained, given the current rate that each infected person spreads it to at least 2.5 others.
Emeritus professor Sian Griffiths, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told 9News.com.au the calculation was a "worst case situation", but a warning not to be complacent.
"It's saying: don't take your eye off the ball. You've got to make sure that all the containment measures continue to be put into place," she said.
"We need to continue to monitor the virus because the mutations are changing, we need to continue to look for which antivirals are effective, we need to continue to isolate cases as they continue to occur so we can stop the spread.
"The clinical spectrum of the disease is not yet fully described — the risk is that if you get it in poorer or vulnerable populations, those people are more likely to die."
There are no proven treatments or vaccines for the new and still-mysterious virus, which has infected more than 43,000 people worldwide and killed over 1000, with the overwhelming majority of cases in China.
And while several labs have come up with tests for the virus, there is no quick means of diagnosis, and results take time.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/health/coronavirus-new-name-given-by-world-health-organisation/69824ab7-e4e7-4878-8ef6-f4791d7b6a33