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Coronavirus developments at a glance: 11-17 July

This week’s coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic from Research Professional News

Focus: With the Covid-19 vaccine race heating up, governments are jostling to bag a life-saving prize

In the 160-contender race of Covid-19 vaccine candidates, everyone is watching the breakaway group that has entered human trials. And governments around the world are offering eye-catching sums to developers in the hope of capturing some of their glory, and a lifeline for their citizens.


Cancer Research UK has announced plans to slash its annual research expenditure following the “devastating impact” of Covid-19 on its fundraising income.

Struggling universities in England may be forced into mergers under the government’s Covid-19 restructuring scheme. Institutions could also see campuses closed and assets sold to pay for emergency loans.

The independence of government scientific advisers must be preserved, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has said.

An influential group of MPs has called for tuition fees to be scrapped for some nurses rushed into the fight against Covid-19 and for “much larger” bursaries to be introduced. The universities minister has praised the work of student nurses who have been working in the NHS to fight the coronavirus outbreak but confirmed there are “no plans” to reimburse their tuition fee loans “in any way”.

The European Parliament has called for the EU to do more to protect public health in its member countries in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, including by supporting more joint health research.


Almost fifty MEPs and representatives of dozens of European biomedical research organisations have called on the European Commission to establish a dedicated body to coordinate health research on the continent in the wake of Covid-19.

Universities have urged the EU to help them develop equitable programmes that blend on-campus and virtual learning as they prepare for a future shaped in part by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The University of New South Wales in Sydney is to axe 493 full-time jobs over the next two weeks to meet a $370 million budget shortfall caused by the impact of Covid-19 on international student enrolments.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the flaws of corporate university systems that have encouraged an aggressive pursuit of international students and cuts to full-time teaching staff, according to a statement by a group of regional university academics.

More than 150 countries could join a global initiative for equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, the World Health Organization has announced.

Thousands of postgraduate and PhD grants. Hundreds of research grants. The National Science Week. Research chairs and centres of excellence. These are some of the victims of South Africa’s pandemic budget cuts unveiled in a marathon parliamentary committee session on 15 July.

South Africa’s National Coronavirus Command Council must seek the advice of researchers and scientists so the Covid-19 response does not impede progress on other diseases affecting the country, the national academy has warned.