Bruce Aylward, Executive Director for Outbreaks and Health Emergencies of the World Health Organization, WHO, speaks during a press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, July 7, 2016. The World Health Organization says a renowned Canadian epidemiologist will lead an international team of experts in the study of China’s novel coronavirus outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Keystone

Renowned Canadian epidemiologist to lead coronavirus study team: WHO

Bruce Aylward directed WHO’s 2,000-person response to the West Africa Ebola outbreak

Renowned Canadian epidemiologist Bruce Aylward will be leading a team of World Health Organization experts in China to study the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Aylward arrived in China today to lay the groundwork for the larger international team tasked with learning more about the virus and China’s public health response to it.

Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, says the team’s mission will be to learn what investigations into the virus have already been carried out in China and to understand what has been one of the largest public health responses in history.

But first, Ryan says Aylward and his team will be looking to the origin of the virus and the severity of the disease.

Aylward is a veteran of past infectious disease outbreaks, having directed WHO’s 2,000-person response to the West Africa Ebola outbreak.

He joined WHO in 1992, and worked in the Middle East, Western Pacific, Europe, North Africa and Central and Southeast Asia in the field of immunization and communicable disease control; he has been responsible for a major overhaul of the way WHO responds to health emergencies.

In China, Aylward and his team of about 10 experts will collaborate with Chinese scientists and public health officials to decide which parts of the country to visit, and which unanswered questions to tackle first.

“We want to learn more about the virus, to learn more about the investigations that have been carried out by Chinese scientists and epidemiologists, to understand the nature of the public health response — which reaches right from the lowest level of the community right the way through the system to the top,” Ryan said.

As of Monday morning, there were 40,554 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the vast majority of which are in China, and 910 deaths.

READ MORE: Canadian coronavirus evacuee describes life under quarantine at CFB Trenton

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wet’suwet’en supporters occupying legislature in Victoria set press conference

Demonstrators have been occupying the legislature since Monday despite injunction

Central Saanich Police prepared for afternoon shut-down of Highway 17

Sgt. Paul Brailey questions efficacy of protest

UPDATED: Demonstrators plan to shut down Pat Bay Highway Wednesday afternoon

Adam Olsen, MLA, says issue should be taken to province, not communities

Wear your rose-coloured glasses for the second annual Pink Shirt Gala

Anti-bullying event promises pink drinks, food and shirts

Rail disruptions expected to continue after new protest sites emerge

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Fake meat and a latte? Starbucks adds Beyond Meat in Canada

The Seattle roaster has talked about introducing plant-based patties in the U.S., but has yet to do so

Most Read