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Prominent Chinese infectious disease expert upbeat on global fight against COVID-19

Global Times

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/13 16:13:40

The first signs of success have emerged in the global fight against COVID-19, said prominent Chinese infectious disease expert Zhang Wenhong in his latest online post on Sunday. It was the veteran Shanghai doctor's first positive remark on the global efforts against the coronavirus.

Despite the seemingly boundless spread of the pandemic across the world and the peak still not yet being reached, in a long post on China's Twitter like Sina Weibo, Zhang said he believes the global fight against the pandemic has shown signs of success.

The first reason he cited for this positive opinion was that a global cooperation consensus has been reached across the world through the UN General Assembly, which approved on Friday a wide-ranging resolution on tackling the coronavirus pandemic with international cooperation, multilateralism, and unity and mutual assistance.

Zhang said that global cooperation is the basic condition for controlling the pandemic, and unity is the prior condition for success in the fight against it. Without global cooperation, the world will be closed off, which would generate misunderstanding and isolation, and further cause all kinds of catastrophes.

Zhang also mentioned that antibody levels after natural infection and vaccination do not decline after four to six months. According to Zhang, more than five months have passed since the earliest 180 volunteers were given the inactivated vaccines produced by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), and the levels of antibodies for the coronavirus are still stabilizing at their peak with no signs of dropping.

Combined with the latest research published in The New England Journal of Medicine on the large-scale serological screening of the novel coronavirus, which shows that 91.1 percent of patients who recovered from COVID-19 had positive serum antibodies which remained at a high level for four months, Zhang suggested that the COVID-19 coronavirus will be unable to escape from humans' innate self-immune response and immune protection.

He predicts that the protection duration of future vaccines may last one year or longer, providing precious time for the world to ultimately bring the pandemic under control and bring the case fatality rate down to 0.1 percent or below.

Shanghai had the country's largest number of imported COVID-19 cases, but the case fatality rate for the roughly 600 cases remains at zero percent.

Zhang predicted that the worldwide case fatality rate due to COVID-19 infection will drop to less than 1 percent after the vaccine comes out. By then, the world will gradually open up.

While the veteran infectious disease expert took a positive attitude, no definite date has been set for the successful development of the vaccine across the world.

Global trials of a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University were halted after a suspected serious adverse reaction in a volunteer during trials. The company stated on September 12 that it has resumed the trials in the UK.

Promisingly, Chinese experts told the Global Times on Saturday at the First Greater Bay Area Vaccine Summit held in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, that no antibody-dependent enhancement effect, which could lead to the failure of vaccines and infections that are even more serious, has been observed from clinical trials of China-developed COVID-19 vaccines.

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