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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many scientific and technical institutions globally, resulting in lower productivity in a number of fields and programs. However, the impact of the pandemic has led to the opening of several new research funding lines for government agencies around the world.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, new and improved forms of scientific communication have evolved. One example is the amount of data being published on preprint servers and the way it has been reviewed on social media platforms before being formally peer reviewed. Scientists are reviewing, editing, analyzing, and publishing manuscripts and data speedily.This intense communication may have enabled an unusual level of collaboration and efficiency among scientists. Francis Collins notes that while he has not seen research move faster, the pace of research "can still feel slow" during a pandemic. The typical research model was considered too slow for the "urgency of the coronavirus threat".
On the 4th of May, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) organized a telethon to raise US$8 billion from forty countries to support the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines. WHO also announced the implementation of an international "solidarity trial" to simultaneously evaluate multiple vaccine candidates reaching phase II-III clinical trials. The "solidarity trial for treatments" is a multinational phase III-IV clinical trial organized by WHO and its partners to compare four untested treatments for hospitalized people with severe cases of COVID-19 disease. The trial was announced on March 18, 2020, and by April 21, 2020, over 100 countries had participated. In addition, WHO is coordinating an international multisite randomized controlled trial—"solidarity trial for vaccines" —that will allow simultaneous assessment of the benefits and risks of different vaccine candidates being clinically tested in countries with high rates of COVID-19 disease. The WHO Vaccine Coalition prioritizes which vaccines to include in phase II and III clinical trials and establishes harmonized phase III protocols for all vaccines that reach the pivotal testing phase.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which has established a US$2 billion global fund for rapid investment and development of vaccine candidates, indicated in April 2020 that a vaccine could be available under protocols of emergency use in less than 12 months, or by early 2021.
The seventh edition of the UNESCO Science Report , which monitors science policy and governance around the world, was in preparation as the COVID-19 pandemic began. As a result, the report documents some of the ways in which scientists, inventors, and governments used science to meet society's needs during the early stages of the pandemic. In the paper What the COVID-19 Pandemic Reveals About the Evolving Landscape of Scientific Advice, the authors present five countries' case studies (Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Ghana, and New Zealand). The authors conclude, "Effective and trusted scientific advice is not simply a function of linkages with the policy-maker. It also involves an effective conversation with stakeholders and the public."
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa contributed 13% of the world's new or adapted technologies, such as robotics, 3D printing, and mobile phone apps, according to the World Health Organization. Many countries have accelerated their approval processes for research project proposals. For example, the innovation agencies of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay have issued calls for research proposals with an expedited approval process through early April 2020. Peru's two innovation agencies reduced their own response time to two weeks, as documented in the UNESCO Science Report (2021).
The UNESCO study of publication trends in 193 countries on the topic of new or re-emerging viruses that can infect humans covered the period from 2011 to 2019 and now provides an overview of the state of research prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Global output on this broad topic increased by only 2% per year between 2011 and 2019, slower than overall global scientific publications. Growth was much higher in individual countries that had to use science to address other viral outbreaks during this period, such as Liberia to combat Ebola or Brazil to combat Zika fever. It remains to be seen whether or not the scientific landscape will shift toward a more proactive approach to health sciences after COVID-19.
The United States Department of Energy federal scientific laboratories, such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have closed all their doors to all visitors and many employees, with non-essential employees and scientists encouraged to work from home if possible. Contractors are also strongly advised to isolate their facilities and employees unless necessary. Overall, ORNL operations remain reasonably unaffected.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been tasked by the White House Coronavirus Task Force to use most of its supercomputing capacity to continue the research on the virus stream, possible mutations, and other factors, while other projects are temporarily scaled back or indefinitely postponed.
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory has closed all six sites in Europe (Barcelona, Grenoble, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Hinxton, and Rome). All EMBL site governments have implemented strict controls in response to the coronavirus. EMBL staff have been instructed to follow the advice of local authorities. Several staff members have been given permission to work at the sites to provide essential services such as animal facility maintenance or data services. All other staff has been instructed to stay at home. EMBL has also canceled all visits to the sites by groups outside the staff. This includes physical attendance at the Heidelberg course and conference program, EMBL-EBI training courses, and all other seminars, courses, and public visits at all sites. Meanwhile, the European Bioinformatics Institute has established a European COVID-19 platform for data/information exchange. The goal is to collect and share readily available research data to enable synergy, cross-fertilization, and use of different data sets with varying degrees of aggregation, validation, and/or completeness. The platform is envisioned to consist of two interconnected components, the SARS-CoV-2 data hubs, which will organize the flow of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak sequence data and enable comprehensive open data exchange for the European and global research community, and a more comprehensive COVID-19 portal.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has expressed concern about the effects of the pandemic on its monitoring system. Observations from the Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay program, which use in-flight measurements from the fleets of 43 airlines, have been reduced by 50 to 80 percent depending on the region. Data from other automated systems have been virtually unaffected, although WMO is concerned that repairs and maintenance may be affected. Manual observations, mainly from developing countries, have also seen a significant decrease.
The need to accelerate open scientific research prompted several civil society organizations to create an Open COVID-19 Pledgeasking different industries to release their intellectual property rights during the pandemic to help find a cure for the disease. Several tech giants have joined the pledge, which includes the release of an Open COVID license. Long-time open access advocates such as Creative Commons have launched a myriad of calls and actions to promote open access in science as a key component to combat the disease. These include a public call for open access policies and a call to scientists to adopt zero embargo periods for their publications, applying a CC BY to their articles and a CC0 waiver for research data. Other organizations have challenged the current scientific culture, calling for more open and public science.
For studies and information on coronavirus that can contribute to citizen science through open science, many other online resources are available on other open science and open access websites, including portals run by Cambridge University Press,the Europe branch of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, The Lancet , John Wiley and Sons, and Springer Nature.
A JAMA Network Open study examined trends in oncology clinical trials initiated before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was noted that pandemic-related declines in clinical trials raised concerns about the potential negative impact on the development of new cancer therapies and the extent to which these findings could be applied to other diseases.
This section needs to be updated.(November 2020)
In March 2020, the United States Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, NASA, industry, and nine universities pooled resources to access supercomputers from IBM combined with cloud computing resources from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google for drug discovery.The COVID‑19 High Performance Computing Consortium also aims to predict the spread of disease, model possible vaccines, and study thousands of chemical compounds to develop a COVID‑19 vaccine or therapy.
The C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute, another consortium of Microsoft, six universities (including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member of the first consortium), and the National Center for Supercomputer Applications in Illinois, operating under the auspices of C3.ai, founded by Thomas Siebel, is pooling supercomputing resources for drug discovery, developing medical protocols, and improving public health strategies, and is awarding large grants through May to researchers proposing to use AI for similar tasks.
In March 2020, the Folding@home distributed computing project launched a program to support medical researchers around the world. The first wave of the project will simulate potential target proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and the related SARS-CoV virus, which has already been studied.
In March, the Rosetta@home distributed computing project also joined the effort. The project uses volunteers' computers to model the proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus to discover potential drug targets or develop new proteins to neutralize the virus. The researchers announced that using Rosetta@home, they were able to "accurately predict the atomic-scale structure of an important coronavirus protein weeks before it could be measured in the lab."
In May 2020, the Open Pandemics—COVID-19 partnership was launched between Scripps Research and IBM's World Community Grid. The partnership is a distributed computing project that "will automatically run a simulated experiment in the background [of connected home PCs] that will help predict the efficacy of a particular chemical compound as a potential treatment for COVID-19."
Resources for informatics and scientific crowdsourcing projects on COVID-19 can be found on the internet or as apps.Some examples of such projects are listed below:
The scientific community has held several machine learning competitions to identify false information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some examples are listed below:
NASA announced the temporary closure of all visitor complexes at its field centers until further notice and asked all non-critical personnel to work from home if possible. Production and manufacturing of the Space Launch System at the Michoud Assembly Facility has been halted,and further delays are expected for the James Webb Space Telescope, although work resumed on June 3, 2020.
The majority of Johnson Space Center personnel have transitioned to telecommunicating, and mission-critical personnel on the International Space Station have been ordered to reside in the mission control room until further notice. Station operations are relatively unaffected, but astronauts on new expeditions are subject to longer more stringent pre-flight quarantine.
NASA's emergency response framework has varied based on local virus cases around its agency's field centers. As of March 24, 2020, the following space centers had moved to Stage 4.
Two facilities were maintained at Stage 4 after reporting new cases of coronavirus: the Michoud Assembly Facility reported its first employee to test positive for COVID-19, and Stennis Space Center recorded the second case of a NASA community member with the virus. Kennedy Space Center maintained at Stage 3 after a workforce member tested positive. Due to mandatory telecommuting policy already in place, the individual had not been on site for more than a week before the onset of symptoms.On May 18, the Michoud facility began resuming work operations on the SLS, but so far remains in a Level 3 status.
At Level 4, mandatory telecommuting is in effect for all personnel except for limited personnel required for mission-critical work and to ensure and maintain the safety and security of the facility.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(June 2020)
The European Space Agency (ESA) has directed many of its science and technology facility personnel to telework whenever possible.
Recent developments, including increased restrictions by national, regional, and local authorities across Europe and the first positive COVID-19 test result among European Space Operations Centre personnel, have led the agency to further restrict on-site personnel at its mission control centers.
ESA Director of Operations, Rolf Densing, has strongly advised mission personnel to reduce activity on science missions, especially on interplanetary spacecraft.
The affected spacecraft currently have stable orbits and long-duration mission, so turning off their science instruments and placing them into a largely unattended safety configuration for a certain period of time will have a negligible impact on their overall mission performance.
Examples of such missions include:
ESA Science Director Günther Hasinger said: "It was a difficult decision, but the right one to take. Our greatest responsibility is the safety of people, and I know all of us in the science community understand why this is necessary."
The temporary reduction in on-site personnel will also allow the ESOC teams to focus on maintaining spacecraft safety for all other missions involved, especially the Mercury explorer BepiColombo, which is en route to the solar system's closest planet and would need on-site support during its planned April 10 flyby of Earth.
The difficult maneuver, which uses Earth's gravity to adjust BepiColombo's trajectory as it cruises towards Mercury, was performed by a very small number of engineers and with full respect to social distancing and other health and hygiene measures required by the current situation. Commissioning and initial checkout operations of recently launched Solar Orbiter science instrument, which had begun last month, have been temporarily suspended.
ESA plans to resume these operations in the near future, depending on the development of the coronavirus situation. In the meantime, Solar Orbiter will continue its journey towards the Sun, with the first Venus flyby to take place in December.
The space and science operations of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) were virtually unaffected. However, all visits to their many field centers have been suspended until April 30, 2020, to reduce contamination.
Bigelow Aerospace announced on March 23, 2020, that it was laying off all its 88 employees. It has said it would rehire the workers when pandemic restrictions were lifted.Tucson, Arizona-based World View announced on April 17, 2020, that it had terminated new business initiatives and laid off an unspecified number of employees to reduce cash outflows. The company also received rent deferrals from Pima County, Arizona.
OneWeb filed for bankruptcy on March 27, 2020, following a cash crunch due to difficulties in raising capital to complete construction and deployment of the remaining 90 percent of the network. The company had already laid off approximately 85 percent of its 531 employees, but said it will maintain operational satellite capabilities while the court restructures it and new owners for the constellation are sought.
Rocket Lab has temporarily closed its launch site in New Zealand, but operations continue at its Wallops Flight Facility launch complex.
Major companies such as SpaceX and Boeing are not economically affected, except that they have taken extra precautions and security measures for their employees to limit the spread of the virus in their workplaces. As of April 16, Blue Origin said that it is continuing to hire staff, with about 20 more people added each week.ULA has implemented an internal pandemic plan. Although some aspects of launch-related outreach have been scaled back, the company has made clear its intention to maintain its launch schedule.
This section needs expansionwith: Not enough attention to the digital divide; needs more detail. You can help by adding to it. (November 2020)
This section needs to be updated.(November 2020)
The pandemic has caused a huge strain on internet traffic, with BT Group and Vodafone seeing a 60 and 50 percent increase in broadband usage, respectively. At the same time, Netflix, Disney+, Google, Amazon, and YouTube have considered reducing the quality of their videos to avoid overload. In addition, Sony has begun to slow down PlayStation game downloads in Europe and the United States to maintain the traffic levels.
Cellular service providers in mainland China reported significant declines in subscribers, partially due to inability of migrant workers to return to work as a result of the quarantine lockdowns; China Mobile saw a reduction of 8 million subscribers, while China Unicom had 7.8 million fewer subscribers, and China Telecom lost 5.6 million users.
Teleconferencing has been used to replace cancelled events as well as daily business meetings and social contacts. Teleconference companies such as Zoom Video Communications have seen a sharp increase in usage, accompanied by technical issues such as bandwidth overcrowding and social problems such as Zoombombing.
However, teleconferencing has also contributed to the development of remote learning.
Thanks to this technology, virtual happy hours for "quarantinis" (mixed drinks)
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a foundation that takes donations from public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations, to finance independent research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases (EID).
The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019; a lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in surrounding Hubei failed to contain the outbreak, and it quickly spread to other parts of mainland China and around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Multiple variants of the virus have emerged and become dominant in many countries since 2021, with the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants being the most virulent. As of 23 October 2021, more than 243 million cases and 4.94 million deaths have been confirmed, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history.
This article provides a general overview and documents the status of locations affected by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The first human cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan, the capital of the province of Hubei in China in December 2019.
Dame Sarah Catherine Gilbert is a British vaccinologist who is Saïd Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford and co-founder of Vaccitech. Gilbert specialises in the development of vaccines against influenza and emerging viral pathogens. She led the development and testing of the universal flu vaccine, which underwent clinical trials in 2011. On New Year's Day 2020 Gilbert read on ProMED-mail about four people in China suffering from a strange pneumonia of unknown cause, in Wuhan, China. Within two weeks a vaccine had been designed at Oxford against the new pathogen. On 30 December 2020, the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine she co-developed with the Oxford Vaccine Group was approved for use in the United Kingdom. As of 2021 more than 1.5 billion doses of the vaccine have been released to more than 170 countries worldwide.
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019. Since January 2020, 45,300,970 confirmed cases have been reported with 733,213 deaths, the most of any country, and the twentieth-highest per capita worldwide. As many infections have gone undetected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that, as of May 2021, there could be a total 120.2 million infections in the United States, or more than a third of the total population. COVID-19 is the deadliest pandemic in U.S. history; it was the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020, behind heart disease and cancer. From 2019 to 2020, U.S. life expectancy dropped by 3 years for Hispanic Americans, 2.9 years for African Americans, and 1.2 years for white Americans. These effects have persisted as U.S. deaths due to COVID-19 in 2021 exceeded those in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Bahrain is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus was confirmed to have reached Bahrain on 21 February 2020.
A COVID‑19 vaccine is a vaccine intended to provide acquired immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19). Prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic, an established body of knowledge existed about the structure and function of coronaviruses causing diseases like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). This knowledge accelerated the development of various vaccine platforms during early 2020. The initial focus of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines was on preventing symptomatic, often severe illness. On 10 January 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequence data was shared through GISAID, and by 19 March, the global pharmaceutical industry announced a major commitment to address COVID-19. The COVID‑19 vaccines are widely credited for their role in reducing the spread, severity, and death caused by COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic was first confirmed to have spread to Scotland on 1 March 2020 with the positive COVID-19 test of a male Tayside resident who had recently travelled between Scotland and northern Italy. The first reported case of community transmission was on 11 March 2020 and the first reported coronavirus death in Scotland was on 13 March 2020.
Media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has varied by country, time period and media outlet. News media has simultaneously kept viewers informed about current events related to the pandemic, and contributed to misinformation or fake news.
COVID-19 drug development is the research process to develop preventative therapeutic prescription drugs that would alleviate the severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). From early 2020 through 2021, several hundred drug companies, biotechnology firms, university research groups, and health organizations were developing therapeutic candidates for COVID-19 disease in various stages of preclinical or clinical research, with 419 potential COVID-19 drugs in clinical trials, as of April 2021.
Kizzmekia "Kizzy" Shanta Corbett is an American viral immunologist. She is the Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute and assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She joined Harvard following six years at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health based in Bethesda, Maryland. She earned a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014. Appointed to the VRC in 2014, Corbett was the scientific lead of the VRC's Coronavirus Team, with research efforts aimed at propelling novel coronavirus vaccines, including a COVID-19 vaccine. In February 2021, Corbett was highlighted in the Time's "Time100 Next" list under the category of Innovators, with a profile written by Anthony Fauci.
COVID-19 apps are mobile software applications for digital contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e. the process of identifying persons ("contacts") who may have been in contact with an infected individual.
The World Health Organization is a leading organization involved in the global coordination for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic, within the broader United Nations response to the pandemic caused by the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in late 2019.
Helen Branswell is a Canadian infectious diseases and global health reporter at Stat News. Branswell spent fifteen years as a medical reporter at The Canadian Press. She led coverage of the Ebola, Zika, SARS and swine flu pandemics, as well as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Plandemic: The Hidden Agenda Behind Covid-19 and Plandemic: Indoctornation are a 2020 conspiracy theory video and film, respectively, both of which were produced by Mikki Willis and promote misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Both feature Judy Mikovits, a discredited American researcher who has been described as an anti-vaccine activist. The first video, in addition to promoting various conspiracy theories, also features Willis and Mikovits discussing viruses in general and Mikovits herself. Willis produced the first video with a low budget under the name of his production company Elevate Films. Three months after the video's Internet release, the second film Plandemic: Indoctornation, which also includes other people, was released by another distributor.
Science diplomacy is the collaborative efforts by local and global entities to solve global issues using science and technology as a base. In science diplomacy, collaboration takes place to advance science but science can also be used to facilitate diplomatic relations. This allows even conflicting nations to come together through science to find solutions to global issues. Global organizations, researchers, public health officials, countries, government officials, and clinicians have previously worked together to create effective measures of infection control and subsequent treatment. They continue to do so through sharing of resources, research data, ideas, and by putting into effect laws and regulations that can further advance scientific research. Without the collaborative efforts of such entities, the world would not have the vaccines and treatments we now possess for diseases that were once considered deadly such as tuberculosis, tetanus, polio, influenza, etc. Historically, science diplomacy has proved successful in diseases such as SARS, Ebola, Zika and continues to be relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic today.
Speed and scale are key to mitigation of COVID-19, due to the fat-tailed nature of pandemic risk and the exponential growth of COVID-19 infections. For mitigation to be effective, (a) chains of transmission must be broken as quickly as possible through screening and containment, (b) health care must be available to provide for the needs of those infected, and (c) contingencies must be in place to allow for effective rollout of (a) and (b).
During the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, many people began to spread false or un-confirmed data and information. This included politicians and other government officials from administrations in several countries. Misinformation about the virus includes its origin, how it spreads, and methods of preventing and curing the disease. Some downplayed the threat of the pandemic, and made false statements about preventative measures, death rates and testing within their own countries. Some have also spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Changing policies also created confusion and contributed to the spread of misinformation. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) originally discouraged use of face masks by the general public in early 2020, advising "If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection," although the WHO later changed their advice to encourage public wearing of face masks.
COVID-19's caused virus, SARS-CoV-2, was isolated in late 2019. Its genetic sequence was published on 11 January 2020, triggering an urgent international response to prepare for an outbreak and hasten development of a preventive COVID-19 vaccine. Since 2020, vaccine development has been expedited via unprecedented collaboration in the multinational pharmaceutical industry and between governments. By June 2020, tens of billions of dollars were invested by corporations, governments, international health organizations, and university research groups to develop dozens of vaccine candidates and prepare for global vaccination programs to immunize against COVID‑19 infection. According to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the geographic distribution of COVID‑19 vaccine development shows North American entities to have about 40% of the activity, compared to 30% in Asia and Australia, 26% in Europe, and a few projects in South America and Africa.
Various kinds of software have been developed and used for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic. These include mobile apps for contact tracing and notifications about infection risks, digital passports verifying one's vaccination status, software for enabling – or improving the effectiveness of – lockdowns and social distancing in general, Web software for the creation of related information services, and software for the research and development for COVID-19 mitigation.
It is vital that we evaluate as many vaccines as possible as we cannot predict how many will turn out to be viable. To increase the chances of success (given the high level of attrition during vaccine development), we must test all candidate vaccines until they fail. WHO is working to ensure that all of them have the chance of being tested at the initial stage of development. The results for the efficacy of each vaccine are expected within three to six months and this evidence, combined with data on safety, will inform decisions about whether it can be used on a wider scale