Matt Apuzzo and David D. Kirkpatrick at The New York Times: “…Normal imperatives like academic credit have been set aside. Online repositories make studies available months ahead of journals. Researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences. More than 200 clinical trials have been launched, bringing together hospitals and laboratories around the globe.
“I never hear scientists — true scientists, good quality scientists — speak in terms of nationality,” said Dr. Francesco Perrone, who is leading a coronavirus clinical trial in Italy. “My nation, your nation. My language, your language. My geographic location, your geographic location. This is something that is really distant from true top-level scientists.”
On a recent morning, for example, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that a ferret exposed to Covid-19 particles had developed a high fever — a potential advance toward animal vaccine testing. Under ordinary circumstances, they would have started work on an academic journal article.
“But you know what? There is going to be plenty of time to get papers published,” said Paul Duprex, a virologist leading the university’s vaccine research. Within two hours, he said, he had shared the findings with scientists around the world on a World Health Organization conference call. “It is pretty cool, right? You cut the crap, for lack of a better word, and you get to be part of a global enterprise.”…
Several scientists said the closest comparison to this moment might be the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s, when scientists and doctors locked arms to combat the disease. But today’s technology and the pace of information-sharing dwarfs what was possible three decades ago.
As a practical matter, medical scientists today have little choice but to study the coronavirus if they want to work at all. Most other laboratory research has been put on hold because of social distancing, lockdowns or work-from-home restrictions.
The pandemic is also eroding the secrecy that pervades academic medical research, said Dr. Ryan Carroll, a Harvard Medical professor who is involved in the coronavirus trial there. Big, exclusive research can lead to grants, promotions and tenure, so scientists often work in secret, suspiciously hoarding data from potential competitors, he said.
“The ability to work collaboratively, setting aside your personal academic progress, is occurring right now because it’s a matter of survival,” he said….(More)”.