A Letter to Foreign Experts and Friends
Dear Foreign Experts, Friends,
In this new year, the whole nation of China and the world are concerned with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude for your concern and support for this epidemic control and prevention in China.
After the outbreak, the Chinese government immediately set up a nationwide mechanism to mobilize resources from across the country. We have taken the most comprehensive, stringent and thorough prevention and control measures, many of which are well beyond what is required by the International Health Regulations and the recommendations of World Health Organization (WHO). President Xi Jinping has made important instructions several times on the epidemic control and prevention. He has chaired central government meetings and listened to work reports to study the situation, to deploy solutions and to mobilize the state for this work of top priority. The whole country adopts a joint prevention and control mechanism headed by the state council. Under this mechanism, All possible measures are taken to fully receive and guarantee the medical treatment of critical patients infected with COVID-19 in hospitals. Every effort is made to take necessary quarantine measures and provide medical support for all suspected cases and close contacts. Based on the real time monitoring of case data and experts’ predication, the epidemic tends to be effectively under control. For example, outside Hubei province, the daily adding number of confirmed cases has been declining for 15 consecutive days across China with a cumulative drop of over 70%; there is a rapid increase in the cure rate and over 10,000 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital.
Vast group of scientific and technological practitioners in China are intensively engaged in research to tackle the problems in epidemic curb and medical treatment. The governmental scientific and technological organs have launched several emergency-tackling research programs on the novel coronavirus disease prevention and control in related areas including key technologies for clinical treatment of severe pneumonia case of COVID-19, comprehensive research on hospital infection prevention and control, traceability and epidemiological studies, pathogenesis research, development and production of vaccine, and drug research and development, etc. At present, some research achievements have been made in clinical drug, rapid-test kits, virus pathogenesis and transmission channels, which provide technical support for fight against the epidemic. For example, in Guangdong province where I live and work, we are committed to the development of new anti-epidemic drugs and new use of old drugs in the way of integration of traditional Chinese and Western medicine and international cooperative research. We have successfully selected some Chinese and Western medicines with clinical effect. A local research team has developed a 15-minute rapid diagnostic kit, which has finished the preliminarily evaluation in laboratory and in clinical use. New type of isolation bed and isolation diagnosis platform have been developed and used in local designated hospitals to improve the level of nosocomial infection prevention and control. Vaccine research and development is expected to make stage progress in the near future, and research on epidemic traceability is making progress. The Recombinant SARS-CoV-2 virus N protein has been successfully synthesized inGuangdong Laboratory Animal Monitoring Institute, and is shared for free with the whole world to shorten the related research with less R&D expenditure, and to guide the establishment of correct scientific research value orientation. So far, more than 1090 strain samples have been given out to domestic and international research teams. Moreover, robot, AI, big data, UAV and other technologies are widely used to support epidemic prevention and control. Guangdong has taken law-based, scientific, robust and effective measures in curbing the epidemic. As such, the society is stable with sufficient supply of daily necessities, functional public transportation, and smooth transportation for medical, essential and epidemic control related supplies. The province is welcoming the flow of migrant workers to return to work and is supporting enterprises to resume production in a classified and orderly manner. I would also like to share the following facts of Guangdong with you. Since the victory of our battle against SARS in 2003, Guangdong has been focusing on its capacity building in R&D of epidemic management. The prevention and control mechanism being constantly improving. In recent years, it has successfully identified and blocked local spread of H1N1, MERS and other viruses that became epidemic in other countries. So far, no more scale epidemics happen in the province again.
The Chinese government and people have always showed empathy for the epidemic outbreaks in other countries and regions by providing humanitarian assistance as well as helping to develop vaccines, clinical diagnosis and drugs. For example, we have successfully developed influenza A (H1N1) vaccine. In cooperation with other countries, we have accomplished the development of fully humanized monoclonal antibody (m336), which becomes one of the best therapeutic drugs for MERS. We have also developed anti-malaria drugs and funded the mass drug administration programs in countries such as Comoros and Papua New Guinea where people suffered from malaria. Remarkable results have been achieved and related experiences have been accumulated.
As a responsible country, the Chinese government has from the start acted in an open and transparent manner in releasing relevant information and seeking international cooperation to prevent the spread of the epidemic worldwide. We have shared with WHO relevant technical information such as the whole genome sequence of the virus strain at a very early time. On the official website of the National Health Commission of China, real time data of national epidemic changes are updated daily to the whole world. At the same time, we actively expand scientific and technological cooperation with international organizations and other countries in response to the epidemic.For example, joint research with scientists from the United States, Canada, Germany, Israel and other countries in epidemic related research are progressing in Guangdong. More foreign experts are welcome to the province for joint research and special accommodation for epidemic prevention will be provided. On January 30th in Guangzhou,renowned Chinese respiratory expert Nanshan Zhong and I met with the world-famous Virus Hunter, Professor Walter Ian Lipkin from the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health respectively. We exchanged with him the response to the epidemic in Guangdong and I supported him to carry out scientific research cooperation with local institutions in the field of epidemic prevention and control.
Virus respects no borders. Epidemic caused by viral infectious disease represents a challenge for all mankind. Since the outbreak of this epidemic in China, many countries have provided medical material assistance to us and developed international joint research projects for epidemic containing. We are truly grateful for these acts of kindness. I also notice that calls for international joint research projects on related studies of novel coronavirus epidemic have been issued by the European Union, some international organizations and other countries. We believe that, with the joint efforts of international community, we will surely win this battle against the epidemic in the near future. Adversity reveals true friendship. Emerging from this test, our friendship will be strengthened and our cooperation will become even firmer.
Your sustaining concern and support will be much appreciated. After the epidemic , that dynamic and secure country will come back again. Welcome you to return for international meetings, for work, for stay and for further exchanges. We are looking forward to meeting you again in the spring blossoms.
I wish you happiness and health in the New Year!
Dr. Ruijun Wang
Director General of Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province, P.R.C
Vice-Chairman of the 22nd Session, UNCSTD
19th February, 2020