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Coronavirus developments at a glance: 27 February to 5 March

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

International patent applications—a key indicator of research activity—continued to grow in 2020 despite the pandemic crippling economies and laboratories around the world.

Lawmakers and research leaders in the United States have expressed increasing alarm over the limited amount of financial relief for research in Covid-19 measures being considered by Congress, arguing that more funding must be found quickly to avoid long-term harm.

Australia and New Zealand
A Covid-19 toolkit developed partly at Griffith University is to be released for use by researchers worldwide.

Border closures in New Zealand have affected the student experience and threatened viability at both tertiary and secondary level, a study has found.

Researchers in South Africa have found that those infected in South Africa’s second Covid-19 wave, driven by the variant known as 501Y.V2, are protected against other circulating variants of the novel coronavirus.

South Africa’s higher education and science minister has declared that a dedicated national pandemic research centre is one of his personal goals.

Countries in the EU that had previously limited their use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine to younger populations are beginning to change their stance, with evidence of high effectiveness of the vaccine in older people coming amid the slower rate of vaccine rollout in the bloc.

Europe’s pharmaceutical industry and left-wing MEPs have taken up opposing sides in a battle over whether intellectual property on treatments and vaccines for Covid-19 should be waived in an attempt to enable faster and more widespread production and use.

Lancaster University scientists have developed a Covid-19 vaccine that can be administered nasally, as researchers increasingly focus on avoiding needles and other costly barriers to widespread distribution of vaccines.

The UK’s medicines regulator has developed guidance with partners in other countries aimed at fast-tracking future vaccine modifications that respond to new variants of coronavirus.

UK Minister for Innovation Lord Bethell has called for a “new approach” to boosting innovation in the life sciences sector following Brexit and the Covid pandemic.