An assistant professor and microbiologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, started a GoFundMe for healthcare workers, medical microbiologists and virologists battling the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in Wuhan, China.
The money raised from the crowdfunding campaign, which was set up by Zhenyu Cheng and his colleagues, will help provide proper medical equipment for scientists and researchers tackling the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province.
“Their request right now is for any help that they can get in supplying equipment which is used to protect health-care workers from infection,” immunologist David Kelvin, Cheng’s colleague, told The Chronicle Herald.
“That would be the suits that you see, TIVECK suits, PPE masks, gloves, things like this. What we’re trying to do is a two-pronged attack, one is to solicit existing supplies within China, within Toronto and Halifax for the most needed items and ship them over,” he continued.
“The other one is to see if we can get funding through either local agencies or national agencies for donations to purchase equipment, which we can also ship over.”
The biggest challenge in their effort is not getting the equipment but making sure that they arrive where they are needed the most. Kelvin is reportedly tracking down Canadian officials who can help with the logistics.
Cheng, who is a native of Wuhan, said his mother and some of his friends still live in the city. He contacts them regularly and said that his mother is not too concerned about what’s happening there.
“At first I thought it was just my mom, maybe just not to let me worry,” Cheng said. “But other relatives, friends, the overall feeling is that they are not too worried at this point.”
From the medical perspective of Kelvin’s colleagues in China, however, there is high anxiety about the situation.
“For the medical workers in Wuhan, they’re exhausted, they’re overworked, trying to deal with an incredibly long demanding population of people,” Kelvin said.
The GoFundMe campaign was set up by the Canadian Society for Virology, Dalhousie University and members of the Canadian medical community to support their colleagues in China.
The number of infected people has climbed to 17,485 while the number of deaths also reached 362, as per the latest data from the interactive map created by Johns Hopkins University. The number of people who have fully recovered from the virus has also increased to 493.
At the time of writing, the campaign set up by Cheng and his colleagues has raised $23,238 out of its $50,000 target.