By 28 January, more than 100 people have died in China in the latest novel coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, outbreak, with over 4,500 confirmed infections. Besides China, the virus has also spread to at least 16 other countries. Various health organisations around the world are reacting to the latest developments.
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In this context, the UK’s Nuffield Council on Bioethics issued a Call for Action to all stakeholders involved to approach health research during emergencies in a more ethical and collaborative way.
The Call for Action is supported by international research institutions and organisations. Its proposals are based on three core values – fairness, equal respect, and helping reduce suffering, and include, among others:
- Increased investment in community engagement.
- Addressing participants' basic health needs prior to research activities.
- Improved emergency planning.
In the meantime, The BMJ has opened access to its latest coverage of the outbreak and launched the BMJ Best Practice's topic on 2019-nCoV, along with topics on MERS and SARS. The relevant material can be found here.
Elsevier, a global information analytics business specialising in science and health, has created a Novel Coronavirus Information Center with free information from Elsevier's medical journals, textbooks, clinical experts and information solutions, etc, in English and Mandarin. Practicing nurses and doctors as well as patients and their families can also find there information relevant to their needs. Elsevier's team in China is preparing a similar information centre for its local website.
Industry is trying to keep up as well. Epic, a healthcare software company, is helping its healthcare customers to detect potential cases of 2019-nCoV through its new travel screening questionnaire. If patients have travelled from China, or show relevant symptoms, providers are now advised to start isolation precautions.
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