Coronavirus outbreak: India has reported 3 new positive cases in the last two days. Noida schools are postponing their final exams and Air India, Hyatt Regency has advised home quarantine for staff members who were present with the infected person. As the COVID-19 outbreak spreads, what can the government/ industry leaders do? Bill Gates in GatesNotes said that leaders in this world have two main responsibilities when it comes to the novel Coronavirus or other epidemics. This includes solving the current problem and ensuring that it will not happen again. According to Gates, the national and state government along with public health agencies can take some measures for the next few weeks that will help curb the impact of deadly COVID-19 and reduce its expansion.
Key highlights from Bill Gates suggestions for Coronavirus:
- Apart from helping own countries, donor governments should also focus on countries with low and middle- incomes. They are the ones who are not prepared politically, economically prepared in order to fight such pandemic. Health organisations and systems in these countries are not that advanced and thus, an outbreak like Coronavirus can make a significant impact.
- Gates said that work on vaccines and treatments for Coronavirus also needs to accelerate. With work going on as scientists were able to "sequence the genome of the virus", it is likely that vaccines will be up for clinical trials.
- Trained health care workers apart from delivering vaccines can also check on the disease patterns. This will serve as an early warning system and thus, will alert for future potential outbreaks.
- There is a need for case database and investments in disease surveillance. The information should be shared across countries. Not only this but the governments should also maintain a list of all trained personnel, could be local leaders or global experts, who are prepared beforehand in order to deal with an epidemic immediately.
- There is a need to improve the old ways by which proteins are manufactured as they are slow when it comes to an epidemic. Safe platforms are also crucial in order to quicken the regulatory review process.
- The governments and industry leaders should come to an agreement that the antivirals and vaccines should not be sold to the highest bidder but be made available at affordable rates for in case of pandemics.
- The government along with other donors should fund the procurement as well as the distribution of medicined/ vaccines for people.
Meanwhile, Bill Gates said that a good amount of $100 million is donated by him and Melinda that will be focused particularly on developing countries so that they can prevent or reduce the impact of the novel Coronavirus.