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

Alberta predicting 400 to 6,600 deaths from COVID-19 in months to come

Alberta predicting 400 to 6,600 deaths from COVID-19 in months to come

Alberta RCMP have reported being threatened with COVID-19

Some members of the public are threatening RCMP by claiming to have COVID-19 and coughing on them.

25 new cases Tuesday in Alberta, provincial total at 1,373

Premier Jason Kenney to provide more information later in the evening

Echo Lacombe launches openlacombe.ca to help residents during COVID-19 pandemic

Website offers up-to-date information on what businesses are currently operating

Lacombe council meetings being conducted electronically due to COVID-19

Chief Administrative Officer and members of Council may participate in meetings via teleconferencing

VIDEO: How doctors in Canada will decide who lives and dies if pandemic worsens

Officials in several provinces have been developing guides so that doctors don’t feel alone

A message from Central Alberta Co-op

Please remember to practice social distancing at all our locations.

Celebrated singer-songwriter John Prine has died at 73

Celebrated singer-songwriter John Prine has died at 73

Dr. Donald: why the U.S. president keeps touting an unproven COVID-19 treatment

Dr. Donald: why the U.S. president keeps touting an unproven COVID-19 treatment

Group of First Nations want Supreme Court to hear appeal on Trans Mountain

Group of First Nations want Supreme Court to hear appeal on Trans Mountain

Trudeau says details coming soon on help for households to access credit

Trudeau says details coming soon on help for households to access credit

Wickenheiser plea for PPE, with Ryan Reynolds assist, scores big donations

Wickenheiser plea for PPE, with Ryan Reynolds assist, scores big donations

Fear of COVID-19 is growing, suggests new poll of Canadians

Fear of COVID-19 is growing, suggests new poll of Canadians

Most visits banned at Alberta continuing-care homes to limit spread of COVID-19

Most visits banned at Alberta continuing-care homes to limit spread of COVID-19

Most Read