Chinese president stresses COVID-19 scientific research

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President Xi Jinping inspects COVID-19 scientific research at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, March 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
President Xi Jinping inspects COVID-19 scientific research at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, March 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed advancing a coordinated scientific research on novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to provide support for winning the battle against the epidemic.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks on Monday during his visit to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and the School of Medicine at Tsinghua University in Beijing.During his visit, Xi learned about the progress of research and application of the vaccines, anti-bodies, medicines and fast testing kits.On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, Xi extended sincere gratitude and greetings to frontline science and technology personnel.

SCIENCE AS MOST POWERFUL WEAPON

“Science and technology are the most powerful weapon in humanity’s battle against diseases,” Xi said. “Mankind can not defeat a major disaster or epidemic without scientific development and technological innovation.”Xi said the COVID-19 research must be taken as a major and pressing task, calling for accelerating its progress and overcoming major difficulties in epidemic prevention and control at an earlier date.

On Monday afternoon, Xi first went to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, where he heard a report on the academy’s COVID-19 scientific research and inspected a contingency medicine research lab for major epidemic outbreaks.Xi stressed the pivotal role of science and technology in curing more patients, reducing mortality and eventually defeating the epidemic.Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the academy’s contingency scientific research efforts have delivered positive results, he said.

Xi urged prompt efforts to develop safe and effective vaccines, drugs and testing kits to help fight the virus.He also called for more core technologies with own intellectual property rights and strong products after the tough battle against the coronavirus.While inspecting the School of Medicine at Tsinghua University, Xi noted coordination between the frontline battle against the epidemic and scientific research and material production.He called for accelerating the development of new-type testing kits, antibody medicines, vaccines, and diagnosis and treatment plans.

Xi also required efforts to reinforce the national surveillance network for major epidemics, improve the legal and regulatory system, promote the research of cutting-edge technologies and cultivate top-notch professionals to raise the country’s ability to respond to major public health emergencies.

SAVING LIVES MOST PRESSING TASK

Chairing a symposium at Tsinghua University, Xi heard reports and gave an important speech.

He noted the progress made by the country’s scientific and technological front in just over a month, saying it has provided forceful support to epidemic prevention and control.At the moment, winning the people’s war against the epidemic still requires hard work, Xi said, stressing more efforts to seek solutions through science.”Saving the lives of more patients is the most pressing and important task,” he continued.

Xi stressed linking the research on medicines and medical equipment with clinical treatment as well as giving priority to the clinical application of scientific research achievements.Treatment should combine traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine, more effective drugs be applied and new treatment methods explored to prevent patients with mild symptoms from becoming severely ill, he said.Advanced treatments using convalescent plasma, stem cells and monoclonal antibodies should also be applied to treat severe and critically ill patients, he added.

On vaccine, Xi said it is vital to epidemic prevention and control, with its safety the top priority.He called for speeding up the vaccine research and development while closely tracking the progress of related research overseas.Xi urged early clinical trial and application of vaccines, as well as linking research and development with industrial-chain production.He also required building a national reserve system for vaccines.

Xi stressed the importance of coordinating research on virus source tracing and transmission routes and evaluating whether some suspected animals are intermediate hosts.Xi pointed out that new technologies, including artificial intelligence and big data, should be applied to epidemiological investigation and virus source tracing to figure out where the virus comes from and how it will develop.Xi also underscored psychological intervention to help patients recover.

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