Fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic and Major Diseases at the Same Time: A Balancing Act for Biomedical Scientists

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Researchers, politicians and funding bodies find themselves in front of a unique situation and enormous challenge: The mounting pressure to accelerate and intensify efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic while handling the growing threat from all other diseases endangering our society.

This balancing and how well the scientific community will respond to it will define health across the globe for years to come, argue scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) in the latest issue of the leading journal Cell. In their commentary, the researchers discuss how to strike a good balance between maintaining and redefining research priorities.

The world is currently facing a global pandemic without precedence. Prof. Matthias Tschöp, CEO at Helmholtz Zentrum München warns that we cannot lose sight of the challenges we are already facing and which are responsible for threatening the lives and quality of lives of billions of people. He says, “It is the duty of the research community to face the total of all current and future threats in a responsible and sustainable manner. We need to adjust the way we work together and take our learnings from the corona pandemic.”

According to the authors, the COVID-19 crisis has already changed the research community. Some of these changes and adaptations can be used to improve how we deal with other health challenges. International research teams are working together rather than in competition – across organization, disciplines and borders. Regulatory bodies have accelerated their processing and the sharing of critical data has been faster than ever.

“Based on what we have learned during the current COVID-19 crisis, smart, lasting, balanced and joint investments in improving our health as one global society are warranted. Ideally, all areas of biomedical research should benefit from this shift and be careful not to take a step back on our journey to prevent and eradicate many of the largest health threats worldwide,” says Prof. Eleftheria Zeggini, Director of the Institute for Translational Genomics at Helmholtz Zentrum München.

 

Further Information

Find the full press release here.