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< Back to question Will coronavirus change the world? Show more Show less

First encountered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the new coronavirus disease COVID-19 has spread rapidly within China and reached many other countries as well. COVID-19 is highly transmissible, with no vaccine or treatment currently available, and on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Will the coronavirus lead to an unprecedented global pandemic, as some experts predict? Or are warnings over the dangers of COVID-19 just fearmongering?

Coronavirus will teach the world valuable lessons Show more Show less

COVID-19 will cost lives and resources, but it will also lead to important progress.
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Coronavirus will improve scientific collaboration

COVID-19 research efforts are reshaping how scientists communicate with each other.
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The Argument

The competitive landscape of scientific research, where prestige, accolades, and compensation are tied to who can publish important findings first, incentivizes scientists to conceal their work from rival groups until the last possible minute. This culture of secrecy has led to inefficiencies in past attempts to collaborate on urgent crises such as disease outbreaks, but the magnitude of the problem presented by COVID-19 is changing that. Scientists studying the coronavirus are making unprecedented use of collaborative tools including preprint servers, where new results can be made available before final publication in peer-reviewed journals. In February 2020, virologist Isabella Eckerle of the Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases remarked that the collaborative effort tackling COVID-19 "feels like things are transitioning to a completely new culture of doing research," while epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said that "intense communication has catalyzed an unusual level of collaboration among scientists that, combined with scientific advances, has enabled research to move faster than during any previous outbreak."

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    This page was last edited on Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 11:42 UTC

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