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Coronavirus developments at a glance: 20-26 February

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

Interview: Coordinating Covid

On 11 February 2020, Charu Kaushic was at a meeting at the World Health Organization’s headquarters in Geneva where hundreds of researchers, funders and regulators were sharing knowledge about a novel virus spreading from China. The disease it caused was given the name Covid-19 that very day.

Full story: Charu Kaushic on lessons learned from chairing a global network of funders through the pandemic


Researchers have raised concerns over multiple aspects of the plan unveiled by Boris Johnson for ending the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

The UK’s national research funder has said it will provide further support to doctoral students, with £11 million to be distributed to English universities, following criticism that it had not done enough to help students who had suffered pandemic-related disruption.

Boris Johnson’s scheduled plans to unveil a route out of lockdown have been given a boost by data from Scotland’s vaccination programme that suggest both currently approved Covid-19 vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalisation, even after a single dose.

The EU has pledged another €500m to the Covax initiative—an international effort to provide equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines—doubling its pledged contribution so far.

Leaders of five EU countries have written to the president of the European Council—the institution through which member state governments steer the running of the bloc—calling for more public-private cooperation to boost vaccine-related R&D.

Spain’s science minister, Pedro Duque, has told the country’s Senate that the government will allocate €34m to extend the contracts of researchers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

United States
Research support at US universities could be the area of research that is at greatest financial risk due to Covid-19, according to an analysis of how the pandemic will affect academic research budgets.

New Zealand
International student fees contributed NZ$1.21 billion to the New Zealand economy in 2019 and the total economic contribution of international education was NZ$5.23bn, data from Education New Zealand have shown.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has eaten into the education budgets in most of the world’s poorest nations, a joint World Bank and Unesco report has warned.

Researchers often do not understand the complexity of policymaking and need training to equip them to deliver better science advice to governments, according to a panel of leading science policy experts.