There has been a very positive response to the request from the Academia Europaea Board for published papers relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a summary of papers received to date:
Ulrich Becker MAE and his research group published a paper titled ‘Protecting livelihoods in the COVID-19 crisis’. In this working paper, the authors examine and compare legal governmental measures in relation to employment, the economy and social protection in Germany, Denmark, England, France and Italy. This paper is part of the Working Papers Law series published by the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
Guanrong Chen MAE and others published a paper titled ‘Modelling the COVID-19 pandemic using an SEIHR model with human migration’. Transmission by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals has made it more difficult to control COVID-19 disease. This paper proposes a susceptible-exposed-infected-hospitalized-removed (SEIHR) with human migrations, where the ‘‘exposed’’ (asymptomatic) individuals are contagious. The model was validated using real historical data of COVID-19 cases from different regions. The authors investigated the impact of isolation of patients compared to border control and conclude that strict isolation of infected individuals can be more effective than closing borders in controlling disease spread.
Wenxuan Hou MAE and others published a paper titled ‘Epidemic Disease and Financial Development’. In this paper the authors look at the impact of epidemics on long-term financial development, using the example of the Tse Tse fly, which spreads an epidemic disease that is harmful to humans and fatal to livestock.
Giuseppe Novelli MAE and others published a paper titled ‘COVID-19 update: the first 6 months of the pandemic’. This review offers a useful summary of strategies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in democratic countries. It includes information on the virus, how it affects humans, the routes of transmission and therapies for the disease. This pandemic playbook is a useful resource in the current pandemic and will be useful in the future when another pandemic might arise.
Giuseppe Novelli MAE is part of the COVID Human Genetic Effort and co-author of the paper ‘Life-threatening COVID-19: defective interferonsunleash excessive inflammation’. This paper discusses how severe COVID-19 pneumonia increases sharply after 65 years of age and how genetic defects as well as autoantibodies against type I interferons contribute to disease severity in at least 10% of critical cases.
In a paper titled ‘Pandemics and Politics’, Adam Roberts MAE discusses how during a Pandemic, trust in leadership is essential because measure to control the disease from spreading require individual sacrifice for the social good. The author looks at pandemics historical context and the current COVID-19 crisis.
Vincenzo Greco MAE published a paper titled ‘Transmission of airborne virus through sneezed and coughed droplets’ (in collaboration with Santosh K. Das, Jan-e Alam and Salvatore Plumari). The paper discusses the evolution of droplets in space and time under varying external conditions of temperature, humidity, and wind flow. This paper offers useful information for preventing the spread of other types of droplets containing microorganisms.
Peter Hegyi MAE (in collaboration with Czumbel, Kiss, Farkas, Mandel, A. Hegyi, Nagy, Lohinai, Szakács, Steward and Varga) published the paper titled ‘Saliva as a Candidate for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing: A Meta-Analysis’. This study offers evidence for saliva tests as a promising alternative to nasopharyngeal swab tests for COVID-19 diagnosis.
Peter Hegyi MAE (in collaboration with Földi, Farkas, Kiss, Zádori, Váncsa, Szakó, Dembrovszky, Solymár, Bartalis, Szakács, Hartmann, Pár, Erõss, Molnár, Szentesi) published the paper titled ‘Obesity is a risk factor for developing critical condition in COVID-19 patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis’. The authors examined obesity as a risk factor for critical COVID-19 patients. This is the first meta-analysis about this topic.
José López-Barneo MAE, in collaboration with others published a paper titled ‘Is carotid body infection responsible for silent hypoxemia in COVID-19 patients?’. The authors propose a mechanism that may explain the low levels of oxygen in the bloodstream of patients with severe COVID-19.
Sylviane Muller MAE and others published a paper titled ‘Autophagy as an emerging target for COVID-19: lessons from an old friend, chloroquine’. Autophagy is the body’s mechanism to degrade and recycle old cellular components (organelles, proteins and cell membranes). The authors discuss how chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) inhibit autophagy and could have potential therapeutic value in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Sylviane Muller MAE in collaboration with others published a paper titled ‘Neutrophilia and NETopathy as key pathologic drivers of progressive lung impairment in patients with COVID-19’. Severely ill patients experience acute respiratory distress with high levels of neutrophils and multiple cytokines causing an exaggerated inflammatory response. In this review, the authors discuss the need to develop therapies that inhibit neutrophil recruitment, activation, degranulation, and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) release.
The COVID Human Genetic Effort is an international consortium of scientists around the world aiming to discover genetic differences between young patients with no underlying medical conditions that develop severe COVID-19 and patients that remain resistant even after repeated exposure to SARS-CoV2. Guiseppe Novelli MAE is part of the consortium and co-author of the paper ‘Inborn errors of type I IFN immunity in patients with life-threatening COVID-19’. The paper was published in the journal Science.
Guiseppe Novelli MAE in collaboration with Emilio Di Maria, Andrea Latini and Paola Borgiani carried out a systematic review titled ‘Genetic variants of the human host influencing the coronavirus-associated phenotypes (SARS, MERS and COVID-19): rapid systematic review and field synopsis’. This is the first comprehensive review exploring the current knowledge of the wide spectrum of phenotypes associated SARS-CoV2 infection going from absence of symptoms to severe systemic complications.
Guiseppe Novelli MAE led a pilot study in a cohort of 131 Italian patients with the aim to determine if genetic variations on the AC2 receptor, the cellular receptor that binds SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein, could explain differences in the susceptibility and severity of infection in COVID-19 clinical cases. The results of this study were published in the paper titled ‘Analysis of ACE2 genetic variants in 131 Italian SARS-CoV-2-positive patients’.
Guiseppe Novelli MAE in collaboration with others published a paper titled ‘COVID-19 and genetic variants of proteins involved in the SARS-CoV-2 entry into the host cells’. In this study the authors analysed a cohort of 131 Italian patients looking for variations in the genes coding for other proteins involved in the SARS-CoV-2 infecting human cells.
Valerie O’Donnell MAE, in collaboration with others, published an evidence review titled ‘Potential role of oral rinses targeting the viral lipid envelope in SARS-CoV-2 infection’. This review examines published research on enveloped viruses including coronaviruses, showing that chemicals found in mouthwashes can damage the lipid membrane of enveloped viruses. The authors assessed existing mouthwash formulations for their potential ability to damage the SARS-CoV-2 lipid envelope in vitro. The evidence suggests the use of mouthwash could be an effective defence against COVID-19 and further research in this area is needed. This review was the first paper published by the journal FUNCTION.
Ole Petersen MAE describes, in a peer-reviewed article published in FUNCTION, an entirely unexpected link between SARS-COV-2 infection and physiological calcium signalling, thereby providing new insights into the mechanism by which this virus enters the cells in our body.
In a review titled ‘Psychiatric face of COVID-19’ by Luca Steardo Jr, Luca Steardo MAE and Alex Verkhratsky MAE, the authors discuss the serious clinical challenges posed by COVID-19 systemic inflammation that can affect the central nervous system and aggravate mental health disorders.
Bernard Rossier MAE and Martina Gentzsch published a paper titled ‘A pathophysiological model for COVID-19: Critical importance of transepithelial sodium transport upon airway infection’. The authors propose a mechanism that could explain how SARS-CoV-2 enters the airways during the early stages of infection and the possible role of epithelial sodium channels (ENaC) in the process. This opinion paper was published in the journal FUNCTION.
Alexei Verkhratsky MAE and others published a review titled ‘Neuropathobiology of COVID-19: The Role for Glia’. The authors discuss the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to enter cells of the central nervous system causing severe neurological inflammation that can result in deficient immune responses and autoimmunity. The consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection during ageing and pregnancy are also discussed.
Alexei Verkhratsky MAE, Gerry Melino MAE, Yufang Shi MAE and others published a paper titled ‘Can COVID-19 pandemic boost the epidemic of neurodegenerative diseases?’. In this review the authors discuss how SARS-CoV-2 directly infects brain cells, causing severe systemic inflammation. Clinical neurological symptoms include dizziness, disturbed sleep, cognitive deficit, hallucinations and depression. COVID-19 damage to neural cells may increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.
Public health, healthcare research and ethics
Martin McKee MAE is a co-author on the paper titled ‘Lessons learnt from easing COVID-19 restrictions: an analysis of countries and regions in Asia Pacific and Europe’. This health policy paper published in The Lancet, examines approaches from nine high-income countries: five in the Asia Pacific region (Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea) and four in Europe (Germany, Norway, Spain, and the UK). The authors identified five prerequisites for easing COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions: knowledge of infection status, community engagement, adequate public health capacity, adequate health system capacity, and border controls. This comparative analysis presents important lessons learnt from the experiences of these countries and regions.
Martin McKee MAE has co-authored a paper entitled ‘Mitigating the wider health effects of covid-19 pandemic response.’
Martin McKee’s MAE website contains links to all his papers, interviews and other activities relating to COVID-19.
In his editorial ‘Will evidence-based medicine be another casualty of COVID-19?’ Roger Watson MAE questions if the current interventions against COVID-19, namely wearing facemasks and full economic lockdowns, are based on convincing evidence.
In the editorial ‘Masking the evidence’: Perspectives of the COVID‐19 pandemic Graeme D. Smith, Fowie Ng and Roger Watson MAE discuss the use of disposable surgical masks (DMS) and fabric masks during the pandemic and examine other issues surrounding the use of masks by the general public. This editorial was published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
In collaboration with Mark Hayter, Roger Watson MAE published an editorial titled ‘The COVID-19 epidemic of manuscripts’ in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. They discuss the surge in publications that are of limited quality and contribute little to knowledge about COVID‐19 care. The authors advise the nursing community to reflect on the lessons learned during the pandemic and to design rigorous studies based on research priorities identified by governments and research funding bodies.
Data and mathematical modelling
Josep Domingo-Ferrer MAE is one of a group of scientists making recommendations on personal data and privacy in the context of COVID-19 apps, in an article in Transactions on Data Privacy.
Robert Lew MAE is working (in collaboration with Dr Wojciech Młocek) on a mathematical model to predict the course of COVID-19 in individual countries. The work has been submitted to a major journal (preprint on medRxiv) and there is a daily-updated online dashboard publicly available.
An alternative static-page presentation, with more countries, new case forecasts, and country comparisons is available here.
and the online daily news journal published by the Geophysical Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences [in Russian].
In the editorial titled ‘The Importance of Risk Communication for Environmental Engineering During COVID-19’, Daniel B. Oerther and Roger Watson MAE discuss the need for risk communication to be clear, concise and consistent to encourage and maintain individual and community behaviour change in a crisis.
Desheng Wu MAE in collaboration with David L Olson wrote the book ‘Pandemic risk management in operations and finance’ – modelling the Impact of COVID-19. The book provides a review of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on finance and supply chain operations.
In his blog piece [in French] on the website of the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Roberto Casati MAE considers temporal factors and decision-making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pearl Dykstra MAE, Deputy Chair of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, is one of the authors of an essay entitled ‘Understanding the effects of Covid-19 through a life course lens’. The paper draws on collective expertise to explore the implications of the pandemic for life transitions and trajectories, including the future development of policies and data. The domains considered cover health, personal control and planning, social relationships and family, education, work and careers, and migration and mobility.
Kathrin Golda-Pongratz MAE in her guest article ‘Dignified housing (in times of pandemic and beyond)’ discusses how lockdown during COVID19 pandemic has exposed inequalities and lack of access to adequate housing. This article was first published in Spanish in The Conversation, a network of not-for-profit media outlets that publish news stories written by academics and researchers.
Chris Hann MAE considers the impact of the pandemic on labour mobility, home working and householding, as part of a blog series for COMPAS, the Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society, a research centre at the University of Oxford.
Mirca Madianou MAE published a paper titled ‘A Second-Order Disaster? Digital Technologies During the COVID-19 Pandemic’. She discusses how digital technologies and data practices in response to COVID-19 have deepened social inequalities in the already disproportionately affected Black, Asian, minority ethnic, and working class groups. This article was published in Social Media + Society
In a paper entitled ‘Imagined Communities and Imaginary Plots: Nationalisms, Conspiracies, and Pandemics in the Longue Durée’, Siniša Malešević MAE considers the nature of and role played by conspiracy theories during the outbreak of major pandemics. He looks at both the historical context and the current COVID-19 crisis.
Wenxuan Hou MAE and others published a paper titled ‘COVID-19 and development: Lessons from historical pandemics’. The authors compare evidence from historic pandemics to the current COVID-19 crisis. They argue that some policies implemented to control the current pandemic might have unintended social consequences such as mistrust, discrimination, xenophobia and abuse of power. Such policies could undermine long-term economic development.
Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt MAE published a paper titled ‘The ways of knowing the pandemic with the help of prompted autoethnography’. This article discusses how different forms of autoethnographic production prompted by diverse forms of academic self-expression can lead to different types of knowing. The author discusses her own reflections of motherhood, self-care, and performance in academia. This paper is part of the Massive_Microscopic project, where participants responded to 21 different prompts inviting autoethnographic reflections about COVID-19 global pandemic.
Jeroen van den Bergh MAE wrote an analysis article in the Spanish newspaper El Periódico. He argues that Spain can develop an integrated strategy to deal with the coronavirus crisis and promote low-carbon options. He proposes four types of taxes to achieve sustainability. Spain unlike many other European countries does not have a carbon emission tax.
Professor van den Bergh MAE, in collaboration with Eric Galbraith, wrote a letter to Nature titled ‘Tax carbon to aid economic recovery’. In their letter they discuss how the fall in fossil-fuel prices offers governments a chance to offset the potentially massive public debt incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his article titled ‘COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and the “Spanish flu”: historical moments and social transformations’, Peter Wagner MAE reflects on the possibility that the COVID-19 crisis could trigger major and desirable social change.
Peter Wagner MAE participated in the symposium Social World and Pandemic. The event was a joint initiative of the journal Sociologia & Antropologia, the Brazilian Society of Sociology and the Social Thought Virtual Library Blog (BVPS in Portuguese).
Klaus F. Zimmermann MAE (in collaboration with Gokhan Karabulut, Mehmet Huseyin Bilgin and Asli Cansin Doker) published the paper titled ‘Inter-country distancing, globalisation and the coronavirus pandemic’. The article analyses the impact of globalisation on the speed of initial transmission to a country and on the scale of initial infections in the context of other driving factors. The open access paper was published in The World Economy.
Professor Zimmermann was co-organiser of the virtual conference on “The Economics of COVID-19”. The conference was jointly organised by The Institute for Economic and Social Research (IESR) at Jinan University and the Global Labor Organization (GLO). The meeting provided a platform for economists to exchange ideas on the pressing economic issues arising during the global pandemic.
Professor Zimmermann leads the Global Labor Organization (GLO) Thematic Cluster Coronavirus. The cluster facilitates efforts of members of the GLO network to understand the challenges of the new virus and to support the development of strategies to manage it and to learn for future pandemics.
He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Population Economics, the leading outlet in its field. The open access journal offers rapid evaluation of academic research on COVID-19. The first published paper assesses the Chinese experience of social and economic factors behind the pandemic crisis.
Request for further contributions
We welcome further contributions from MAEs. Please email AECardiffHub@cardiff.ac.uk