World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday that the first vaccines for the novel coronavirus could be ready in 18 months.
In the meantime, he tweeted, "there's a lot we can do to prevent transmission and prepare for any further spread."
Earlier at a press briefing on Tuesday, he told reporters that while the world needs investment in research and development, "we also need investment in stopping the COVID19 outbreak now," adding that the development of vaccine and therapeutic is an important part of the research agenda.
"We are not defenceless," he said. "There are many basic public health interventions that are available to us now, and which can prevent infections now."
"So, we have to do everything today using the available weapons to fight this virus, while preparing for the long-term," the WHO chief said.