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Coronavirus developments at a glance—20 March

Today: mapping the surge of interest in Covid-19, concern over EU trials, publishers under pressure

Covid-19 homepage

See all coronavirus updates from Research Professional News in one place—funding, policy, opinion, and more.


Please note: Research Professional News is working towards making all our coronavirus coverage free. At present some of these stories are only accessible to subscribers, but please check back in the coming days for free versions. 

The EU’s medicines regulator has warned that research organisations across Europe are undertaking studies of the Covid-19 pandemic that might not deliver useful results because they are too small.

In Norway, the union for public servants has warned that cuts to staff numbers at the country’s public health institute in recent years have potentially undermined the country’s response to coronavirus.

Universities and research institutions in the UK have been told they are best placed to make decisions about how their operations run during the coronavirus crisis, according to the leaders of government funder UK Research and Innovation leaders advised. MPs in the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee have said they will launch an inquiry into the UK’s ability to deal with global disease outbreaks.

Publishers are also facing increased pressure to become open access, as a group of sector bodies including higher education IT firm Jisc and vice-chancellors’ body Universities UK joined forces to urge all those who publish digital content to make teaching and learning materials free during the ongoing outbreak.

Our HE service reports how universities are turning to unconditional offers as school exams are cancelled.

Australia’s government has announced a support programme to help the country’s universities overcome the challenges presented by travel bans and limits on public gatherings imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. And University of Melbourne scientists have used a series of blood samples from a Covid-19 patient to map the immune system’s ability to fight the virus and recover from infection.

Universities across Malaysia closed their doors on 18 March for at least two weeks as part of a nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

A new analysis of academic search trends, carried out for Research Professional News, reveals a sudden recent surge of interest in papers on coronavirus since the outbreak of the Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by one such virus.

Yesterday’s Covid-19 round up