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The 3rd World Laureates Forum opens in Shanghai, emphasizes global cooperation in fight against
Date: 2020-10-31
Source: Global Times
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The 3rd World Laureates Forum (photo: CCTV)

The importance of science development and cooperation between all people seems unprecedentedly apparent this year, as the world witnesses how global scientists work together amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in curing patients and developing vaccines, top scientists worldwide pointed out on Friday.

The 3rd World Laureates Forum, one of the world's largest science and technology forums, being held in Shanghai from Friday to Sunday, gathers more than 300 global scientists, including 61 Nobel Prize winners, to participate in this scientific feast online or offline, and discuss current topics of concern, such as the global spread of the coronavirus.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a video message at the forum's opening ceremony, saying that scientists from around the world have made great contributions to the fight against the COVID-19. 

China will implement a more open, inclusive and mutually beneficial strategy of international scientific and technological cooperation, Xi noted. China is willing to work with top scientists and organizations in promoting scientific development, said Xi.

2006 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Roger Kornberg said at the forum that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is an inspiring example of global cooperation. Scientists and researchers from [worldwide] universities, research institutes and industries have been working on exploring treatments to the virus to prevent the spread of the pandemic, Swedish said, who is also the chairman of the World Laureates Association (WLA) that initiates the forum.

The world has never experienced such large scales of disaster and international cooperation, Kornberg said at the forum's opening speech, noting that the COVID-19 problem will surely be solved in the next year or so through joint efforts.

The first and most important thing to control the pandemic is to promote preventive measures, Kornberg said. "The non-pharmaceutical measures are the only available approach until we have a vaccine and a drug or multiple vaccines and drugs," he told the Global Times at the forum on Friday, saying that non-pharmaceutical measures include mask wearing, social distancing and good hygiene. 

Kornberg praised the efforts that Chinese government has made in promoting non-pharmaceutical measures aimed at the pandemic. "It is done both by mandating behavior nationwide, and also by controlling the disease wherever it arises through immediate sequestration - that is, locking down a neighborhood or a city where a case arises and testing all of the inhabitants - and thereby preventing the spread of the disease," he said.

At the forum, medical scientists discussed strengths and weaknesses of some current COVID-19 treatments in the clinic use. Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, a 2015 Albany Prize winner in medicine, mentioned in his speech the neutralizing antibody therapy that US President Trump had received.

The 8g Regeneron's antibody cocktail REGN-COV2 that US President Trump had been given during his treatment was a very high dose, too expensive to the general public, Xie said in his speech. 

More powerful neutralizing antibody medicines [with lower does] need to be developed, Xie said. 

"Neutralizing antibodies are expected to be the sovereign remedy for the treatment of COVID-19," Xie told the Global Times on Friday, saying that clinical trials of some [new] neutralizing antibody-based medicines have started in China and Australia in September.

The ongoing forum announced the creation of a foundation for the development of top global scientists in Shanghai. The foundation will focus on projects regarding worldwide scientific communication and education, innovative talent growth, and the development of scientific communities.

A WLA Science Community at Shanghai Lingang Free Trade Zone, for instance, was announced to open for the first time on Friday since it started construction in 2018. 

Home to headquarters of several top global scientific organizations, this 2.5-square-kilometer community in Pudong New Area will focus on the research, development and industrialization of frontline scientific areas such as biomedicine, artificial intelligence AI, integrated circuits, new energy and quantum science, the forum said.