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Life science community shares research to combat coronavirus

Posted on February 13th, 2020 by in COVID-19

After weeks of rising concern about the rapid spread of the coronavirus in China’s Wuhan province, on January 31 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a global health emergency. But the story of the coronavirus outbreak is about more than a health scare – it is a terribly sad human tragedy. Already (as of this writing) over 40,000 people have been infected and over 1,000 have died since the outbreak began in December, and it is children and the elderly who have suffered most.

Originally from China myself, I worry very much about my own parents, family, and friends as this nightmare unfolds. At times like these, we can feel utterly powerless. But one thing we do know is that information is power. Particularly when it comes to a health crisis like this, scientific knowledge is critical because that is what will be required to help slow down and treat this deadly virus.

In just the last 30 days, a great deal of relevant research has been published in journals like The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine – and we need it to keep coming. A Nature editorial earlier this month put it best with the title: “Calling all coronavirus researchers: keep sharing, stay open.”

Openness and sharing are absolutely crucial for quickly advancing the science on this virus, as researchers work towards treatments, a vaccine and a cure. Accordingly, many publishers and research centers are making coronavirus-related information available for free, so that there are no barriers to getting this critical research out there.

Elsevier has launched a Novel Coronavirus Information Center online to serve as a hub for free health and medical research. There you can find a map of outbreak experts, informational breakdowns from clinicians, a video overview on coronavirus, patient engagement resources, numerous Chinese-language resources, links to relevant journal articles and book chapters, links to content from other publishers, early-stage research and more.

As tragic and worrying as this outbreak is, I am heartened by how the scientific community is banding together to fight it. Elsevier has joined with dozens and dozens of educational institutions, research organizations, scientific publishers and life science companies in making a commitment to work together to ensure that:

  • relevant peer-reviewed research is freely available
  • research findings are immediately shared with WHO upon journal submission
  • research data relating to the outbreak are shared as widely and rapidly as possible

We must all continue working together to facilitate information-sharing so that scientists and researchers can focus their efforts on using that information to stop the coronavirus outbreak.

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