COVID-19 pandemic will be hard-fought battle without everyone's cooperation: Experts

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Weeks ago, public health officials reported fewer coronavirus infections across the globe as governments enforced lockdowns. While it is not a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, it helps the healthcare system cope by reducing transmissions until an approved vaccine or treatment becomes available. However, some countries already began lifting their restrictions against the recommendation of experts leading to another wave of outbreaks. Now, two high-profile scientists in the United States are calling for collective communication and cooperation in order to end the health crisis.

In a piece published in the JAMA Network earlier this week, Johnson & Johnson Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels along with National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins shared their opinion on how people should respond to the current situation. The NIH is reportedly partnering with 18 high-profile biopharmaceutical companies, the European Medicines Agency, and several U.S. federal agencies.

They have apparently formed a public-private initiative to focus on processes that would hopefully fast-track the development of vaccines and treatments for SARS-CoV-2. As of Monday, it has infected more than 4.7 million people with an estimated 319,515 deaths around the world. ACTIV, which is the acronym for Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic and Vaccines is expected to come up with new guidelines for international medical sectors.

“It has been more than a century since the world has encountered a pandemic like coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the rate of spread of COVID-19 around the globe and the associated morbidity and mortality have been staggering,” wrote the Collins and Stoffels. “To address what may be the greatest public health crisis of this generation, it is imperative that all sectors of society work together in unprecedented ways, with unprecedented speed,” they added.


US officials warn that Chinese hackers are looking to steal coronavirus vaccine research Photo: AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

So far, related news reports highlight several announcements from biotech groups who have completed the initial testing phases of their COVID-19 treatments. One based in California claims to have observed a 100 percent inhibition of the coronavirus in volunteers. Meanwhile, another firm shared the results of its vaccine, which allegedly prompted an immune response from a select number of test subjects. After securing approval, both will move on to the secondary stages of their respective clinical trials.