Illustration of scientists working together on coronavirus

How the coronavirus will transform science

From the moment the world heard about a novel coronavirus, known now as SARS-CoV-2, causing widespread respiratory illnesses in China, scientists leapt into action.

Academic, government, and industry labs mobilized to quickly understand key viral proteins. Researchers worked collaboratively in unprecedented numbers across institutions and corporations to explore the potential for existing drugs to take down this new virus. Companies are getting new diagnosticsvaccines, and treatments into the clinic at lightning speed. Scientists are publishing results on preprint servers practically in real time and using social media to communicate their findings on COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Those not directly involved in the coronavirus efforts scoured their labs for gloves, masks, and reagents to donate.

Science is firing on all cylinders.

We’re still early in this global crisis, but already, the scientific community is considering what this pandemic could teach us about how to respond to the next one. C&EN asked leaders in life sciences for their early take on what we’ve learned. Responses were edited for length and clarity.


Genomics, Infectious Disease


UC Berkeley



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