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Coronavirus developments at a glance: 19 December to 8 January

The latest coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic from Research Professional News


There is a “big need” for research infrastructures to improve remote access to their services, as the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to disrupt in-person access for a substantial time to come, a study has concluded.

The EU has approved the use of two Covid-19 vaccines—the one developed by the company Moderna and the one jointly developed by the companies BioNTech and Pfizer.

The European Medicines Agency has requested more data from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca regarding the safety and efficacy of its Covid-19 vaccine, which has been approved for emergency use in some countries but has not yet received EU approval.

The European Ombudsman has recommended that the European Commission create a “dedicated online platform” for researchers whose work is disrupted by Covid-19, after an inquiry of the Commission’s handling of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions grants.


An influential group of MPs has criticised the government’s lack of transparency in the early stages of the pandemic and said there is still insufficient visibility of the science advice that ministers receive on coronavirus.

All higher education staff are considered critical workers by the government during lockdown, the Department for Education has clarified following England entering its third national lockdown.

Pressure is growing on the four UK funding bodies to delay the Research Excellence Framework once again as a third lockdown begins in England.

Statisticians have warned that proper data will be crucial to a successful vaccine rollout in the UK, as the prime minister committed to publishing daily updates on the number of people vaccinated against Covid-19.

University staff and students have expressed concern and confusion as the higher education sector braces for the third national lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Scientists have welcomed the approval of a coronavirus vaccine developed by scientists at the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca for use in the UK at a time that some say is “the most precarious stage of the pandemic”.

The government has published a register of interests of members of its Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which has been advising on Covid-19.