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What if medication solely focuses on COVID?

What if medication solely focuses on COVID?

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Among the many casualties of the COVID19 epidemic, one which’s not instantly apparent is biomedical analysis indirectly associated to the pandemic and SARS-CoV-2.

This image emerges intimately from a brand new examine of researchers on the IMT College for Superior Research Lucca on PLOS One. Analyzing the publications that appeared on PubMed between the start of 2018 and the tip of 2020, the authors have proven that COVID-19 acted as a strong and unpredictable shock, profoundly affecting and shifting priorities of the scientific manufacturing within the biomedical subject. Whereas publications associated to all of the features of the pandemic skyrocketed—due to the dedication of the scientific group, which introduced in a brief interval a surge of data concerning the new coronavirus—publications, medical trials, and grants in topics indirectly associated to COVID decreased of as much as 25 p.c in comparison with the pre-COVID period, a truth non instantly evident and never with out penalties.

To conduct their evaluation, Massimo Riccaboni, professor of Economics on the IMT College, and Luca Verginer, now post-doc on the ETH Zürich, thought-about the PubMed repository, which accommodates greater than 34 million biomedical citations annotated with the Medical Topic Headings (MeSH) terminology. MeSH are key phrases manually assigned to the articles that permit to categorise them based mostly on their content material. Then the authors launched an index of relatedness to COVID-19 to measure how closely-related a time period is to the pandemic—for instance, “ageusia,” lack of style, a medical time period present since 1991, grew to become often called a particular symptom of COVID-19, so it’s extremely associated—and in contrast scientific articles itemizing COVID-related Medical Topic Headings (MeSH) and COVID-unrelated MeSH.

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From this evaluation, some knowledge clearly emerged. To begin with, as anticipated, it was evident that the scientific group instantly mobilized to supply analysis on COVID-19. Within the first three months after the pandemic, the variety of scientific papers about COVID-19 was fivefold the variety of articles on H1N1 swine influenza. The time period “Betacoronavirus’ (SARS-CoV-2 is a species of the genus) skyrocketed from 2019 to 2020: the variety of publications weighted by their impression issue elevated by as much as an element of 100 in comparison with the earlier. On the similar time, the time period “Alphacoronavirus’—a special genus—didn’t expertise any development. For the interval thought-about, all of the analysis themes not directly associated to COVID—even these very hardly ever thought-about earlier than, corresponding to “quarantine” and “lockdown”—exploded. The time period “ageusia” was the topic of 176 articles in 2020. Equally, the variety of medical trials associated to COVID-19 prophylaxis and coverings considerably elevated.

A lot much less noticeable and anticipated was what occurred to the fields of biomedical analysis non-related to COVID-19. On this case, the authors noticed a really vital discount in publications, with medical phrases not associated to COVID showing much less and fewer steadily within the scientific literature. For the least associated group, decreases within the variety of publications was between 10 p.c and 13 p.c, and the drop within the impression issue weighted output reached nearly 20 p.c. The variety of medical trial publications within the least associated group dropped by a staggering 24 p.c. On the similar time, publications on medical trials for COVID-19-related MeSH elevated by an element of two.1 One other impact emerged from the evaluation: grants assigned within the pre-COVID period, already talked about in 2018, have been diverted to help COVID-19 associated analysis, because it emerges from the variety of publications linked to these grants.

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This phenomenon, already proven by different research, has been known as “COVIDisation” of educational analysis. The IMT College evaluation reveals the magnitude and proportions of this shift. “The general image that emerges is that there was a profound realignment of priorities and analysis efforts, with your entire medication centered on COVID-19,” says Riccaboni. “Whereas this effort and the mobilization of the scientific group introduced us vaccines, this shift in truth additionally displaced biomedical analysis within the fields not associated to COVID-19, bringing different undesired penalties.” The phenomenon addressed within the examine provides as much as different related adjustments induced by the pandemic within the scientific analysis, such because the document variety of research suspended, the toll on girls and early-career scientists, the questionable high quality of strategies and knowledge gathered in medical trials produced by way of fast-tracks. “It is very important level additionally these unfavourable penalties, so to keep away from for the longer term that analysis for illnesses aside from COVID-19, corresponding to uncommon illnesses, are additional uncared for,” says Riccaboni.


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Extra data:
Massimo Riccaboni et al, The impression of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientific analysis within the life sciences, PLOS ONE (2022). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263001

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IMT College for Superior Research Lucca

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What if medication solely focuses on COVID? (2022, February 15)
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