Researchers from all around the world have worked to understand the novel coronavirus which appeared more than one year ago in China. In this pandemic period, a total number of 87,000 research studies on coronavirus were published till October 2020, which reveals how researchers were trying to find the origins, effects and potential treatments for this never seen before the virus.
This high number of coronavirus research studies is surprising because managing so much work in such a short period shows a true dedication to find help. Many health experts believe that it is the first time ever in the entire history of medical sciences that over eighty thousand researches are published in a few months. It looks like the global scientific community shifted its sole attention to fix this pandemic.
A new study has evaluated all these coronavirus research studies identifying how they help to understand the infection and management of the pandemic. This was a collaboration between researchers from Zhejiang University (China) and the University of Hawai’i. The complete findings of this study are recently published in the journal Scientometrics.
For this analysis the researchers had to go through dozens of scientific databases, finding the articles published on coronavirus. From January 2020 to the middle of April 2020, there were nearly 4,875 studies related to coronavirus. It increased to 44,013 by the month of July 2020 and finally reached 87,515 in the first week of October 2020.
These research studies on coronavirus are somewhat similar to the nanoscale sciences research during the 1990s and 2000s when everyone was working on it. But the time for these nanoscale researches to jump from 4000 to 90,000 studies was nearly 19 years. However, the coronavirus research articles have made similar progress in five months only.
Most of the research studies during the first two months of the pandemic were conducted by Chinese and American researchers. But China stopped these researches as soon as the country started to see a decline in new cases and covid-19 deaths. From January to April, when the pandemic was new and mysterious, the contributions from Chinese researchers were nearly 47% of the total studies on coronavirus at that time. But till July, this progress declined to 16% of the total studies mainly because pandemic management wasn’t a problem for China anymore, apparently. It is not just China but many other countries have also shown a similar pattern in contribution to coronavirus research studies.
This trend is surprising because understanding a pandemic is not just a problem of one country or one part of the world. It is a global crisis and needs equal contributing to every country, which can help to identify the problem and find a solution to fix it.
There are also chances that it is not that the researchers changed their interests but the Chinese government stopped funding these studies once the coronavirus cases were no longer a threat to public health. At the start of the pandemic, most governments heavily funded their research labs to find out preventive or controlling methods for this pandemic. As the new cases were controlled after some months, this funding was probably cut, reduced or discontinued.