Hundreds of experts will meet in Geneva next Tuesday and Wednesday to set research and development priorities for coronavirus drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to combat the outbreak, the World Health Organization has said.

"There are no proven effective therapeutics for novel coronavirus," Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO emergencies programme, told a news conference.

WHO epidemiologist Dr Maria van Kerkhove said participants would include experts in clinical investigations and research into an animal source of the virus which emerged at a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

"We want to bring the best minds, people who have experience in this so come around a comprehensive research agenda around coronavirus," she said.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a multinational WHO-led team would go to China "very, very soon" to work with Chinese authorities in tackling the outbreak.

A total of 24,363 cases have been confirmed in China, including 490 deaths, Mr Tedros said.

The past 24 hours has seen the most cases in a single day since the outbreak began.


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Virus situation in Wuhan remains severe - officials


The WHO-led mission may include experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some 20 agencies in the tourism and travel industry - including IATA, ICAO and the UN's World Tourism Organization as well as several airlines - took part in a teleconference today to discuss concerns including protection of crews and passengers when flights to and from China resume, she said.

WHO issues appeal for €613m to fight coronavirus

The World Health Organization has appealed for €613m in donations for a plan to fight coronavirus, mainly through investment in countries considered particularly "at risk".

"Today we're launching a strategic preparedness and response plan .... for the next three months," Mr Tedros said.

"Our message to the international community is invest today or pay more later."

Mr Tedros added that the funding appeal was "much less than the bill we will have to pay if we do not invest in preparedness now".

He said €54m of the funds would be for WHO operations while the remainder would go to countries requiring assistance to guard against the deadly virus.

The Irish Government has announced that it is allocating €500,000 to the emergency appeal.

Mr Tedros said the WHO is sending 500,000 masks and 40,000 respirators to 24 countries from its warehouses in Dubai and Accra in Ghana.

Mr Tedros welcomed a €90m donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for virus testing, treatment and vaccine research.