How world is united in coronavirus research
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How World Is United In Coronavirus Research To Defeat COVID-19

This is for the first time so many scientists across the world are focusing urgently on a single topic. Almost all other researches have come to halt.

Using the flag-wrapped memes and military phrases, the Trump administration and its Chinese counterparts presented coronavirus research as a national imperative, talking about the biotech arms race.

Most of the world’s scientists responded with a collective eye roll.

Jonathan Heeney, a Cambridge University researcher working on a coronavirus vaccine said “Absolutely ridiculous.”

Adrian Hill, the head of the Jenner Institute at Oxford, one of the largest vaccine research centers at an academic institution responded, “That isn’t how things happen.”

While countries have locked their borders, scientists across the world are shattering theirs, collaborating globally unlike any in history.

Academic credits have been set aside and importance is given to research. Research papers are available at the online repositories months ahead of journals. Hundreds of viral genome sequences have been identified and shared by researchers. The coronavirus pandemic has brought together with hospita

ls and laboratories around the globe, launching more than 200 clinical trials.

For example, the University of Pittsburgh scientists found that a ferret exposed to novel coronavirus had developed a high fever. This could be the first step towards animal vaccine testing. The scientists would have started working on an academic journal under ordinary circumstances.

But Paul Duprex, a virologist leading the university’s vaccine research said there is going to be plenty of time to get papers published. The scientists shared the results with scientists around the globe within two hours.

The Austrian drug company Themis Bioscience and the Pasteur Institute in Paris collaborated with Dr.Duprex’s lab in this research. A Norway-based organization financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a group of governments and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation funded the project. The team is in contact with one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world, the Serum Institute of India.

The animal testing results by the Rocky Mountain Laboratory in the National Institutes of Health were shared with vaccine researchers at Oxford University recently.

Also, clinical trials on four COVID-19 drugs are being sponsored by the French public-health research center Inserm. The trials are underway in France.

The Massachusetts General Hospital, in collaboration with Xijing Hospital in China and a pair of hospitals in northern Italy, is testing the effectiveness of inhaled nitric oxide on COVID-19 patients. The doctors at these research centers had been collaborating for years and it reflects a medical community that has long been international in scope.

But no other outbreak or medical mystery has ignited the scientific community before as the coronavirus did. For many scientists, the centers of the outbreak are no longer some villages in the developing world, but it’s their hometowns and this shows the scope of a pandemic.

Professor Hill, of Oxford, said: “This is playing at home.” Hill had been working on vaccines for Malaria, Tuberculosis, Ebola and other diseases prevalent in Africa. But this time the disease is right here in his homeland. The world needs to be united in coronavirus research to defeat the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

A similar situation was created in the 1990s, during the AIDS epidemic, when scientists and doctors joined hands to defeat the disease. But today’s technology and pace of sharing information have made what was possible three decades ago insignificant.

Today, during the coronavirus pandemic, all other researches have been put on hold due to lockdowns and social-distancing restrictions and have given coronavirus related research prime importance.

The pandemic is also eliminating the confidentiality that pervades academic medical research, said Dr. Ryan Carroll, a Harvard Medical professor. Scientists used to work in secret before, suspiciously hoarding data from potential competitors, as big, exclusive research can lead to grants, promotions, and tenure, he added.

Right now, everyone is working collaboratively, setting aside personal academic progress, as its a matter of survival.

Openness in research is slightly visible in online archives like bioRxiv and medRxiv that share academic research papers even before they get published in journals. Research papers related to coronavirus from across the world are flooding the online archives. A significant portion of the coronavirus research available in the archives is contributed by Chinese researchers, despite the nationalistic tone set by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

Chinese scientists have led the world’s coronavirus research in many ways even though they tried to cover up the outbreak initially and used it for propaganda purposes. What formed the basis for coronavirus tests worldwide was the initial viral genome made public by a Chinese laboratory in January. And the early Chinese research on COVID-19 became the basis of some promising clinical trials.

An epidemiologist at Urmia University in Iran, Jamal Ahmadzadeh last year warned that a rapid-alert system is needed for the world in response to MERS, another member of the coronavirus family. Last week, Jamal wrote an email saying information sharing across laboratories and borders is required to defeat the coronavirus that is currently sweeping the world.

Over 20 research institutes in India as well are working towards finding a vaccine for COVID-19. Scientists from CSIR Laboratories, University of Hyderabad & Many other organizations are in the league of finding a potential vaccine for COVID. HLL Lifecare & RGCB have Developed Coronavirus Rapid Diagnostic Antibody Kits. NIV Pune scientists succeeded in capturing the images of coronavirus for the first time in India with the help of genome sequence data released by Chinese scientists on an open access repository. COVID-19 Test Kits Made by Mylab became the First Made In India Kit to get Govt Approval. In a recent announcement the Union Health Minister have Urged Indian Scientists To Develop COVID-19 Mitigation Solutions Fast, in a fixed timeframe.

Even scientists working in other fields are drawn into coronavirus research. Dr. Perrone, a cancer specialist is supervising an Italian clinical trial of the immunosuppressive drug tocilizumab because of his experience in running clinical trials for the National Cancer Institute in Naples.

After the emergency has passed, the coronavirus pandemic may make medical science more nimble, said Dr. Perrone. The government approval process that normally takes many days was completed just in ten days after the researchers conceived of the trial. This should be a lesson for the future, added Dr. Perrone. All these efforts show How the world is united in coronavirus research.

While drug companies like Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer have announced that they will support coronavirus research, the biggest drug manufacturers are still focusing on drugs that can be sold year after year in rich countries as vaccine research has been insufficiently profitable.

The drug giants that chased the Ebola vaccine in 2014 had to face major losses on their investments. The first Ebola vaccine by a Canadian government lab got approval last year only, long after the epidemic faded.

“Of course there are people in the competition. This is the human condition,” said Dr. Yazdan Yazdanpanah, the director of infectious disease at Inserm in France. “What is important is to come up with a solution for everyone. The way to achieve that is to collaborate.