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Tulane and the Battle Against 2019-nCoV

Friday, January 31, 2020

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Dear Tulane Community:
 
Much of this week has been devoted to keeping our campuses informed about the ongoing outbreak caused by the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV. The risk to members of the Tulane community from this coronavirus remains low, but as a global university with students, scholars and researchers from around the world, we are closely monitoring this evolving situation and taking all necessary precautions.
 
As Tulanians, I believe you will share my pride in learning that the university’s community of scholars, upon learning of the outbreak, immediately began working across disciplines to develop diagnoses, vaccines and treatments for 2019-nCoV. Our scientists are world leaders in infectious disease research, and Tulane has a long history of battling such outbreaks. This began with our founding as a medical school devoted to fighting yellow fever and continued through the Ebola outbreak, where we helped create the first rapid field test for the disease. We are also deeply involved in the development of new vaccines for tuberculosis, polio, diarrheal diseases, Zika, HIV and more.
 
In addition to our 2019-nCoV research, we are working on a new approach — an early warning system to detect and track disease threats before they break onto the world stage as full-blown health crises. Such a system would give Tulane and other universities a head start in discovering vaccines and treatments for new or re-emerging diseases before they spread globally. In other words, this system might avoid future outbreaks such as the current one from happening at all.
 
Incidents such as the 2019-nCoV outbreak remind us of how deeply interconnected our world is and that we must rely on and support one another, particularly during times like this. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those who have been impacted by this outbreak, especially in China, where many of our students, scientists and staff have family and friends.

Signature of Mike Fitts