As a result of the outbreak of new coronary pneumonia, normal daily life in most parts of China has been affected, as has science. Although many faculties have started online teaching, universities throughout the country remain closed, access to laboratories is restricted, projects are sealed, field work is disrupted and travel is severely restricted. In addition, scientists in other parts of the world have noticed the impact, with cooperation with China suspended and scientific meetings cancelled or postponed for the next five months. Recently, Science reported on the impact of the new coronary pneumonia outbreak on the global scientific community.
Researchers can’t return, some experimental studies stop
Compared with human suffering, the destruction of science is insignificant. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that the total number of cases rose to 71,429, of which nearly 99% in China, 1,775 deaths.
However, for individual researchers, the damage can be severe and stressful. “Basically, everything has stopped completely,” said John Speakman, head of the Animal Behavior Laboratory at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, which has been closed since the Lunar New Year on January 25.
“It’s a big deal, it’s really stressful for people. But Speakman said he understood why the Chinese government had taken such steps. “It’s annoying, but I fully support what they’re doing,” he said.
In Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, and other cities in Hubei province, the disruption was particularly pronounced. Sara Platto, a professor of animal behavior at Jianghan University in Wuhan, says teachers and students who live on campus are confined to apartments. Platto, who lives outside the school, can open the door every three days. “I’m working more now than I did before the outbreak,” she said. “
Platto, a scientific consultant to colleagues in Beijing, is conducting genetic analysis to determine the relationship between the virus that caused COVID-19 (officially named SARS-CoV-2 last week) and another coronavirus isolated from pangolins. She said she participated in 13 chat groups to keep the research going. But one of the papers she was writing was delayed because she left her notes in her office before the outbreak and is now unable to return to school.
The impact on science goes far beyond Wuhan. “At the moment, experimental research has largely stopped because students and researchers cannot return to the lab, ” said Pu Muming, a neuroscientist at the Shanghai Center of Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “
Jeffrey Erlich, a Canadian neuroscientist at New York University in Shanghai, said he was asked to stop all animal experiments and limit them to animal husbandry. For him, that means losing much research on complex mission training for mice and other animal species. “If I had to stop training them because I didn’t allow my staff to keep them, I would have to order another batch of animals and start from scratch, which would bring me back six or nine months ago,” he said.
Erlich said he was negotiating ways to continue his work, but was ambivalent about it. “It’s really difficult to strike a balance between the efficiency of research in the lab and the safety and comfort of its employees, ” he says.
Because of the outbreak, some laboratories are running overspeed, and many scientific conferences have announced cancellations or postponements
Some Chinese researchers are shifting the focus to writing research reports and writing funded paperwork. China’s National Science Foundation has delayed the deadline for funding applications by several weeks, giving researchers time to make up for the delay. At the same time, many universities and institutions have added online courses to ensure that students attend classes on time. “Amazingly, thousands of people watch every day, ” he says. “
However, the crisis has caused some laboratories to overspeed. Zhang Linqi, an AIDS researcher at Tsinghua University, is now working on a new coronavirus. Members of his lab even decided to forgo last month’s Lunar New Year celebrations: ” (We) decided to celebrate it by conducting research,” he said. They synthesized and characterized the “spike” on the surface of the coronavirus, a protein that helps it enter human cells. Zhang said the findings allow the team to explore several vaccine strategies with industry partners.
Many researchers in other parts of the world are also interested in the new virus. Christopher Dye, an infectious disease expert at the University of Oxford, says his lab has shelved most of the research. “The main impact is that while helping chinese colleagues analyze a large amount of new COVID-19 data, you need to categorize the work and put other projects on the back burner,” Dye said. “
Concerns about the spread of the virus have also led to changes in the plans of many scientific conferences. So far, more than a dozen scientific conferences have been cancelled or postponed, not only in China, but also in Asia and elsewhere in Europe.
Cold Spring Port Labande and Cold Spring Port have cancelled all planned meetings in Suzhou, China, “until at least the end of June”.
At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at the weekend, 31 registrants from China were unable to attend because of travel restrictions. Even organizers of the International Conference on Infectious Diseases, scheduled for Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, postponed their meeting, saying the first priority for registrants was to fight an outbreak of the coronavirus in their home country.
Meanwhile, the 36th International Geological Congress, scheduled to take place in New Delhi in early March, has angered some by banning all participants with Chinese passports, even if they have not been in China for years. Organizers say 480 Chinese registrants can join via Skype.
80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients produced in China and India, drug stocks may run out
There is also growing concern that the supply of drugs could soon be disrupted globally. It is estimated that 80 percent of all active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are produced in China and India, said Rosemarie Gibson, author of China Rx, testifying. They include compounds used to treat a variety of diseases, from bacterial infections to cancer to heart disease and diabetes. With many factories in China still closed, many medicines may soon be in short supply.
“Now it’s a problem,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. In life-threatening situations, 153 drugs need to be used immediately, Osterholm said. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, overdependence on a small number of suppliers led to a shortage of dozens of drugs a day, Osterholm said. “
But Who Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products, Mari?ngela Sim?o, said she and her colleagues had not seen any signs of COVID-19 affecting the supply of essential medicines. Sim?o’s team is in daily contact with the International Pharmaceutical Association, which is tracking transport disruptions in its member companies. “So far, we have no direct risk about the API,” sim?o said. “
Part of the problem, she adds, is that many companies store products for 2-4 months before the Lunar New Year celebrations, when many factories close. While Hubei is home to some pharmaceutical companies, it is more likely to be in Shanghai and other less affected areas of China. That is, if the virus is not controlled, interference can still occur, Sim?o notes. “It all depends on how the outbreak evolves. “
This uncertainty about the future may be the most common concern in China and the world. “We don’t know when the outbreak will end and when all lab members will come back to continue our project,” said Wengshen Wei, a geneticist at Peking University. “
Bill Gates believes artificial intelligence and gene therapy can save lives
Scientists didn’t stop for a moment in the study of new coronary pneumonia. Bill Gates, on the other hand, has high hopes for artificial intelligence, which he hopes will play its part in studying disease and saving lives.
According to Bill Gates, artificial intelligence and gene therapy are two of the most powerful technologies to change lives. Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Friday, Gates said artificial intelligence could “make sense for complex biological systems” and that gene-based tools have the potential to cure AIDS.
The billionaire philanthropist says the potential of artificial intelligence is only now being discovered, doubling its computing power every three and a half months. In addition to improvements in processing data, it has successfully turned on the machine’s “ability to synthesize, analyze, view patterns, gain insight and make predictions in a much larger dimension than humans can understand.”
The most exciting part of Artificial Intelligence, Gates said, is “how it helps us understand complex biological systems and accelerate sequestering therapies to improve health in the poorest countries.” “Gene editing technology will help both vaccine, diagnosis and treatment. “It has the potential to improve health, not only for rare genetic diseases, but also for diseases that primarily plague people in poor countries. “
Referring to the deadly coronavirus, Gates said the two technologies could help diagnose and test, treat and develop vaccines: “Our foundation has committed $100 million to address this new coronavirus because we believe it poses a serious threat to global health. The funding will support efforts to identify, isolate and treat confirmed cases, help countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to take steps to prepare for an epidemic and protect their most vulnerable citizens, and accelerate the development of vaccines, treatments and diagnostic methods. “
Nature publishes free content about SARS-CoV-2 journals
SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that causes outbreaks of respiratory diseases, called COVID-19, that has spread to several countries around the world. Since there is no clear finding on the disease, the publisher Springer Nature decided to make its published research papers on the virus available to the public free of charge and produced a topic for researchers to search.
Springer Nature encourages researchers to share research results submitted to all journals in preprintas as early as possible, and strongly recommends that authors who submit articles related to this emergency share the underlying data sets related to the outbreak as widely as possible.
Coronary virus latest: First infection detected in Africa
Scientists fear a new virus has infected thousands of people and killed more than 1,000. The virus, which appeared in Wuhan, China, in December, is a coronavirus that belongs to the same family as the pathogen that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS. It causes respiratory diseases called COVID-19 and can spread from person to person.
Collect theme series: communication patterns and popular control over COVID-19? 》
Chinese scientists discovered a new type of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 on January 7, 2020. Promote China’s urgent public health action and international participation. In both urban and rural areas, China has strengthened its public health response to contain and alleviate the epidemic. But there is still a lot of work to be done. In accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, there is an urgent need to understand the epidemiology and trends of such outbreaks, their full potential for human-to-human transmission, and where transmission occurs and control strategies. In this regard, mathematical and data-driven modeling studies can help provide evidence and insight into the spread, severity and specificity of disease, making it easy to provide a basis for decision-making in the fight against disease.
Pneumonia outbreak linked to new coronavirus that may have been the origin of bats
Since the outbreak of SARS 18 years ago, many severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoV) have been found in their natural reservoir host bats. Previous studies have shown that some of these bats have the potential to infect humans. The paper reported the identification and characterization of a new type of coronavirus (2019-nCoV), in which a full-length genome sequence was obtained from five patients at the beginning of the outbreak. They are almost identical to each other and have a total of 79.5% sequence identification of SARS-CoV. In addition, 2019-nCoV was found to be 96% homogenous at the genome level as bat coronaviruses. Analysis of the sequence of seven conservative non-structural proteins showed that the virus belonged to the SARSr-CoV species. The 2019-nCoV virus is then isolated from the bronchol alveolar irrigation fluid of critically ill patients, which can be sympathised by the serum of several patients. Importantly, the authors have confirmed that this new Type of CoV uses the same cells as SARS-CoV to enter receptor ACE2.
New Coronary Virus associated with Respiratory Diseases in Humans
Emerging infectious diseases such as SARS and Zika pose a major threat to public health. Despite extensive research, it remains uncertain when and where new diseases will occur. A systematic evolutionary analysis of the complete viral genome (29903 nucleotides) of the new coronavirus showed that the virus was most similar to a group of SARS-like coronaviruses (Betacoronavirus genus, Sarbecovirus subgenite) (89.1% nucleotide similarity). The outbreak highlights the fact that the virus’s ability to spill over animals is causing serious diseases in humans.
Other articles include: