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Coronavirus developments at a glance: 8-14 August

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


Almost 40 per cent of A level results have been downgraded, sparking fury among students and school leaders and overshadowing a year-on-year rise in the number of young people going to university.

Academic libraries in the UK have called for “immediate reductions” in prices if they are to keep subscribing to the packages of journals offered by major publishers.

An expert network funded by the UK government to identify and prepare for emerging disease threats did not include the virus type that causes Covid-19—Sars coronavirus—on a 2019 list of 13 priority diseases, even though the virus was included on an equivalent World Health Organization list.

A row over grants co-awarded by the UK’s largest public research funder to investigate the Covid-19 risk among certain ethnic groups has deepened, with researchers voicing concerns that a member of the decision-making panel is a co-investigator on three of the successful projects.


A state-sponsored academic exchange funder in Germany has been forced by the Covid-19 pandemic to use a lottery process to award 10 per cent of its prestigious fellowships in 2020.

Economist Marianna Mazzucato has called on the EU to throw its full support behind the themed missions that are a core part of its next R&D funding programme, in order to help the bloc bounce back from the effects of Covid-19.

The European Commission has agreed the terms of a deal for 200 million doses of a potential vaccine from Belgium’s Janssen against Covid-19, in the latest gamble on early promising signs from research against the coronavirus. The Commission has also announced €128 million in funding for 23 Covid-19 research projects, supporting 347 teams in 40 countries.

The Cesaer group of European science and technology universities has joined calls for the European Commission to do more to support those on the Erasmus+ student mobility scheme who have been affected by Covid-19.


Southern African and European partners have launched a call to support the development of Covid-19 interventions in Africa. South African health economist Atiya Mosam has been elected co-chair of the InterAcademy Partnership’s Covid-19 expert group.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic has boosted the international standing of its higher education system, with the country’s perceived appeal to students rising the most out of several key countries surveyed.


Russia has prompted global disquiet among researchers after announcing that it has become the first country in the world to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for use.

More than a third of researchers have either repurposed pre-pandemic grants to study Covid-19 or expect to do so, according to preliminary findings of a survey of academic life during the outbreak.