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World's top virus hunter works with Chinese scientists to curb novel coronavirus outbreak

(Xinhua)    16:19, February 03, 2020

GUANGZHOU, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- An expert known as one of the world's top virus hunters is working with Chinese scientists and public health officials to develop strategies for enhancing the basic science needed to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Ian Lipkin, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, told Xinhua in a written interview Saturday that he is speeding up cooperation with Chinese scientists.

"Scientists around the world, and specifically speaking for the United States, want to work hand in hand with Chinese scientists to create vaccines, drugs, diagnostic tests to address this outbreak, and to reduce disease and death among the Chinese people," he said.

Lipkin, who has over 30 years of experience in diagnostics, microbial discovery and outbreak response, and internationally recognized as an authority on the use of molecular methods for pathogen discovery, said this outbreak coincides with the Chinese New Year and the associated active travel that complicates containment.

At the height of the SARS outbreak in 2003, Lipkin was invited by senior Chinese scientists and officials to assess the state of the epidemic, identify gaps in science, and develop a strategy for containing the virus and curtailing infections and deaths. In 2016, he was honored with the China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award.

While the World Health Organization said Thursday that the novel coronavirus outbreak has become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, Lipkin said this should not be considered to imply a criticism of Chinese scientists, health care workers or government officials.

"It is a way to acknowledge the serious nature of this threat to public health," he said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Liang Jun)

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