SCIO briefing on scientific research into COVID-19

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on April 27 in Beijing to brief the media about scientific research into COVID-19. April 29, 2020


What has struck experts like you most in your research since the outbreak of COVID-19? Many topics were mentioned just now, including the origin of the virus and how its pathogenicity was identified quickly at the early stage. What's your task or target in the future? Could you give us a list of priorities?

Xi Yanchun:

Let's invite each expert to have some words. 

Jin Qi:

I certainly have a lot of feelings that I'd like to share with you. At the beginning of February, we drove 16 hours from Beijing to Wuhan with a mobile negative pressure lab in preparation for a Fangcang shelter hospital. I came across no more than 10 automobiles while making the nearly 750-mile journey. This was a big shock to me. What's even more shocking was that when I arrived at the Fangcang shelter hospital, which was then the biggest one in Wuhan, I walked straight into the lobby — where no partition had been set up yet — only to find that it was packed with rows of beds without a single patient. I stood there for 20 minutes. It reminded me of a faded photo taken during the 1918 flu pandemic. Many of you may have seen it. I was deeply touched standing there. What moved me most was that we as human beings need to unite against the sudden outbreak of infectious diseases, and we have a lot to do. Thank you.

Yan Jinghua:

I have no experience like Mr. Jin's in Wuhan. I'd like to talk about my experience as a vaccine developer. We, as vaccine developers, have in fact been stressed and nervous since the outbreak of the new coronavirus. As you know, there are many infectious diseases, including HIV, Ebola and Zika. But we seldom find vaccines for them. No vaccine is available for MERS, and the same is true for HIV and Zika. No vaccine candidates for these diseases are available on the market. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, none of the new coronavirus vaccine candidates have gone to the market. So what's the effect of a vaccine? Will it protect people and eventually become available on the market? That's the biggest concern of every vaccine developer. Even now, it is unknown if the vaccine for COVID-19 will succeed. Hence, we have a lot of work to do. We need verification during the process. We want it to succeed. But science is science, and the pathogen has its own characteristics. We look forward to our success. Thank you.

Wang Guiqiang:

I have been involved from the start in the control and prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I genuinely feel its impact on humans. At the time of the SARS outbreak, Beijing's streets were also empty. I believe the success of China's anti-epidemic work lies in top-down unity and concerted efforts. We should cherish our achievements. During the outbreak, the Chinese people have played important roles and made tremendous sacrifices, including our medical workers who braved the risk of infection to provide relief in Wuhan; our scientific and technological workers who worked round the clock on diagnostic reagents, pathogen screening and vaccine development; as well as ordinary people who stayed at home to contribute to the fight against the disease. It's safe to say that everyone is working together. Therefore, I think it is not easy for China to achieve such results. I also hope that the whole world can come together as one to fight the pandemic. It is far from being enough for a single country to work hard because COVID-19 is a global challenge, and we are a global family. All countries should unite to fight the disease so we can achieve victory together. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

OK, it is precisely one hour into the press conference. Three experts and Dr. Liu Peipei have responded to questions from ten reporters, and the exchanges were sufficient. In the future, we will create more opportunities to communicate with you. I want to say that in the face of the sudden outbreak, Chinese scientists and researchers have worked hard. They are dedicated, rigorous, and realistic. They have played a vital role in the prevention and control of the epidemic. I want to take this opportunity to salute and thank all scientists and researchers who are working hard on the frontlines in the field of scientific research on the epidemic prevention and control.

I also want to stress that the virus knows no borders. Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapon for the international community to overcome the pandemic. China is willing to continue to work with the international community and provide Chinese wisdom and strength. Thanks again to the experts, and thank you all. Today's briefing ends now. Thank you.

Translated and edited by Wu Jin, Zhu Bochen, Li Huiru, Zhang Liying, Wang Yanfang, Gong Yingchun, Zhou Jing, Fan Junmei, Huang Shan, Li Xiao, Lin Liyao, Zhang Rui, Zhang Junmian, He Shan, Liu Qiang, Wang Qian, Wang Wei, Duan Yaying, Yang Xi, Zhang Lulu, Guo Xiaohong, Wang Yiming, Mi Xingang, Jay Birbeck, Laura Zheng, David Ball, Scott Rainen. In case of any dispute over a discrepancy, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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