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Global Cooperation Needed for SARS Fight: World Experts
World health officials and experts gathering in Beijing for an anti-SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) meeting on Wednesday called for further international cooperation to combat the new disease.

Over 100 health-care officials and experts attended the two-day ASEAN, China, Japan and the ROK (10+3) High-level Symposium on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in Beijing.

Dong Xiaoping, a researcher in the Chinese center for disease control and prevention (CDC), described the meeting as "helpful and fruitful."

China's epidemic investigation data and clinical treatment experience and results will help the rest of the world cope with the threat of the disease, Dong said.

The flu-like virus has infected 8,398 people world-wide, killing 772 as of Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

China reported a total of 5,329 SARS cases and 334 deaths as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Chinese Ministry of Health.

Dr. Huang Luyu with the School of Public Health of the University of Texas, the United States, said the meeting provided an opportunity for scientists from various countries or regions to exchange SARS information face-to-face.

The virus is "boundless," and international collaboration could help to effectively control the disease, Huang said.

An official with Thailand's ministry of health, Pitaya Laorakpong, said the information he learned from the event could accelerate the development of Thailand's anti-SARS plan.

The mapping of HIV's genetic sequence took three years, while that of the SARS virus took only three months, said Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

"That is a victory for mankind's cooperation," Zhong said.

Chinese Vice-Minister of Health Gao Qiang said at the meeting that the Chinese government and people will "never forget" the assistance from the international community.

Dr. Stephen Ostroff with the US Center for Disease Control (US CDC) and Prevention said that the US CDC will send a delegation to China to consult with their Chinese counterparts.

The US CDC has sent several scientists to work with the World Health Organization's expert group in China.

Through international cooperation, the SARS situation has been alleviated in most affected countries and regions, including China, but the success is far from definitive, according to the delegates.

Kyung-tae Moon, vice-minister of health and welfare from the Republic of Korea (ROK), said at Wednesday's closing ceremony that it's still not time to uncork the champagne.

However, "We are confident that we can achieve complete control of the disease through joint efforts," Zhong said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2003

Chinese Expert Calls for Further International Cooperation in Combat Against SARS
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High-level Symposium on SARS Held in Beijing
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