Go back

World news roundup: 20-26 March

Image: Brian A Jackson, via Shutterstock

The latest news in global research policy and funding

In depth: Medicines regulators around the world have agreed to ease stringent rules that normally govern putting vaccines into human trials, as research groups around the world race to develop jabs against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Full story: Global easing of regulations for coronavirus vaccines


Canada boosts biotech in response to coronavirus

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has announced plans for the country’s research response to the coronavirus outbreak, with most of the CA$275 million dollars earmarked for R&D going to biotechnology companies. A $192m industry package will go to companies including AbCellera, which is developing antibody-based tests and treatments, and Medicago, which has a candidate vaccine. The National Research Council of Canada will also receive $15m for upgrading facilities to develop the pipeline of vaccine candidates.

WIPO patenting ‘unaffected by Covid-19’

The World Intellectual Property Organization says it is continuing to process all intellectual property applications, despite closing its Geneva headquarters to all but essential personnel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Staff are moving to remote working, said WIPO director general Francis Gurry in a 16 March statement. “In these worrisome times, the entire WIPO workforce stands in solidarity with the global community as we work together to overcome Covid-19,” he added.

China extends mental health support to overseas students

China has extended access to its Covid-19 mental health support service to students based overseas. Originally started in February to support those inside the country impacted by the epidemic, the Ministry of Education service is now available to Chinese students studying abroad, according to a 23 March statement.

South Korea plans new synchrotron

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Technology has confirmed plans to build a new synchrotron in the country to support industry R&D. In a 26 March statement it said an expert committee had been formed to select an appropriate site. It hopes to start the project in 2022 at the latest.