BioScience Trends. 2020;14(1):3-8. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2020.01043)

Challenges to the system of reserve medical supplies for public health emergencies: reflections on the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic in China

Wang X, Zhang XX, He JJ


On December 31, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), China is now at a critical period in the control of the epidemic. The Chinese Government has been taking a series of rapid, comprehensive, and effective prevention and control measures. As the pandemic has developed, a fact has become apparent: there is a serious dearth of emergency medical supplies, and especially an extreme shortage of personal protective equipment such as masks and medical protective clothing. This is one of the major factors affecting the progress of epidemic prevention and control. Although China has made great efforts to strengthen the ability to quickly respond to public health emergencies since the SARS outbreak in 2003 and it has clarified requirements for emergency supplies through legislation, the emergency reserve supplies program has not been effectively implemented, and there are also deficiencies in the types, quantity, and availability of emergency medical supplies. A sound system of emergency reserve supplies is crucial to the management of public health emergencies. Based on international experiences with pandemic control, the world should emphasize improving the system of emergency reserve medical supplies in the process of establishing and improving public health emergency response systems, and it should promote the establishment of international cooperative programs to jointly deal with public health emergencies of international concern in the future.

KEYWORDS: public health emergency, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, medical supplies

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