WORLD

Vision China Event Highlights Key Role Of Science In Fighting Outbreak

Themed "Fighting COVID-19: The Beacon of Science", the event, organized by China Daily, was broadcast on multiple media platforms on Sunday to a global audience.
18 May 2020 18:49
Vision China Event Highlights Key Role Of Science In Fighting Outbreak
The latest edition of Vision China features four prominent speakers (from left to right): Dr Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, assistant director-general for natural sciences at UNESCO; Dr Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Denis Depoux, global managing director of Roland Berger; and Sunney Xie, Director of Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics (ICG), Peking University.

It is science and innovation, not politics, that plays the vital role in containing the COVID-19 pandemic — a global challenge that requires global solutions, speakers at the latest edition of Vision China said.

Themed “Fighting COVID-19: The Beacon of Science”, the event, organized by China Daily, was broadcast on multiple media platforms on Sunday to a global audience. Four prominent speakers shared their personal accounts of how China and the international community have been battling the pandemic together, and they offered insights on how to strengthen the role of science in tackling public health emergencies.

Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, assistant director-general for natural sciences at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said that “the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated a unique and productive international solidarity among scientists across the world”.

“They are exchanging scientific and technological data, and information beyond borders,” she said, adding that Chinese scientists published the “extremely important” genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus very early, which enabled other countries to develop screening tests.

“(The sharing) promoted open science and scientific collaboration across the world,” she said. “We need to boost scientific input in decision-making and preparedness,” she said, thus allowing “science as a beacon to inform governance”.

Nair-Bedouelle said UNESCO warmly welcomes the open science COVID-19 platform set up by Chinese scientists. “The initiative is really in the spirit of making science more accessible, more connected to societal needs, and promoting equal opportunities for people and scientists across the world.”

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that China has promptly published information related to the COVID-19 outbreak, and shared its practice with rest of the world.

He said China was the first to report the outbreak to the WHO, the first to share the genetic sequence of the virus, and the first to mobilize international collaboration against the disease. Moreover, China has taken swift and drastic measures that effectively stemmed the spread of the virus.

As an expert who also participated in containing the SARS outbreak in 2003, Wu said improved scientific and technological development in China in recent years had greatly contributed to the quick response to COVID-19, making possible the quick identification of the new virus and the development of testing kits for diagnosis. “We have seen a big progress in this aspect compared with the SARS outbreak 17 years ago,” he said.

Wu said controlling the COVID-19 outbreak is not a task for one country, but a global endeavor. “All countries need to collaborate to finally win the battle against COVID-19,” he said.

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