Published time: 13 April 2020
Authors: Elisabeth Paul, Garrett W. Brown, Valery Ridde
Keywords: global health, novel coronavirus, low income, worldwide, research.
The WHO declared the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) an ‘emergency of international concern’ on 30 January 2020 and a pandemic on 11 March. According to WHO’s Situation Report – 79, as of 8 April 2020, the epidemic has caused 79235 deaths worldwide.1 While it is seemingly nearing its end in China, where it was first reported, it is still on the rise in Europe, in the USA and in other parts of the world, including in many low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). The pandemic has triggered unprecedented measures worldwide. Many countries have installed travel bans, confinement and lockdown policies. These responses have been adopted in an ‘emergency’ mode, and are largely reactionary, aimed at mitigating the spread of the disease while waiting for a specific cure and/or vaccine to be developed. Here we do not want to underestimate the risks caused by the pandemic, nor to question the measures taken by the WHO and governments. But we would like to express our concerns regarding four COVID-19-related issues, and advocate for a ‘paradigm shift’— that is, a scientific revolution encompassing changes in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline2 —to prepare for future crises.
COVID-19 time for paradigm shift in