The leaders of Tsinghua University and Imperial College London have called for global collaboration to tackle coronavirus and other global challenges.
Imperial scientists are working to develop a coronavirus vaccine. (Photo: China Daily)
Chen Xu, the chairperson of Tsinghua University Council, and Imperial's president, Professor Alice Gast, spoke at a joint symposium between the two universities on the "COVID-19 fightback and the future new normal".
Chen said: "Global public health is facing an incredible challenge as COVID-19 threatens the lives of people across the world. At this moment it has never been so clear and urgent that only through solidarity and collaboration can we overcome this challenge.
"It is clear that the pandemic, as well as other global challenges cannot be solved by one country or one university alone, and that we will need collaboration and cooperation from all," she added.
Gast said: "It is clear that the pandemic, as well as other global challenges cannot be solved by one country or one university alone, and that we will need collaboration and cooperation from all,"
"The COVID-19 pandemic has since caused us to make a number of rapid and profound changes in the ways we work and operate as scientists and as a university, but one thing that has not changed is our commitment to working with international colleagues and partners," Gast added.
The joint symposium was also attended by former Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Margaret Chan and WHO Coronavirus Envoy David Nabarro, as well as university leaders from London, Beijing and around the world to discuss how universities can help the global response to coronavirus.
Chan, who is the Dean of Tsinghua's Vanke School of Public Health, said: "The current pandemic is truly unprecedented in human history in terms of speed, severity and scale. The novel coronavirus is the most cunning virus I have ever seen in 40 years of working in global health.
"Development of drugs and vaccines are still underway and it is hard to predict if and when they become available."
Nabarro, co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation said: "We know from the experience of China and other countries that in order to be able to ensure that social and economic life can continue, communities need to be able to defend themselves against the virus.
"People depend hugely on local and national governments, on universities with their capacity to provide science and evidence, on local and national organisations, on businesses as well, to be able to find their way to live with this virus as a constant presence and sometimes as a threat to their livelihoods," he added.