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Coronavirus developments at a glance: 6-12 February

The latest coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic from Research Professional News

Universities Australia has put a figure on the cost of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that “at least” 17,300 jobs were lost in higher education last year and that revenue fell by A$1.8 billion.

Australian researchers working with partners in New Zealand are still awaiting a “travel bubble” with New Zealand, nearly 12 months after borders closed. And researchers in New Zealand have said that important collaborations are being hampered by the lack of a “travel bubble” between Australia and New Zealand.

Leaders of the US Congress have come under pressure to prioritise funding for research derailed by Covid-19 as part of the next spending package responding to the pandemic.

Experts from the World Health Organization have closed the door on a theory that Covid-19 leaked from a laboratory following an on-the-ground investigation by its experts at the site of the pandemic’s origin in Wuhan, China.

An international funder central to global Covid-19 vaccine development is offering $140 million to research groups that can fill gaps in evidence for existing vaccines, through a call launched on 28 January.

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated economies in developing countries, with dire repercussions for health and food security, a paper has found. But sub-Saharan Africa contributed only around 2 per cent of global research on Covid-19 in the first eight months of the pandemic, fresh data shows. 

The largest political group in the European Parliament, the centre-right European People’s Party Group, has called on the European Commission and EU member state governments to provide “immediate” help for students affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

MEPs in the European People’s Party—the European Parliament’s largest political group—have asked the European Commission to explore options for creating a “permanent industry-financed and EU-supported fund” for joint research into and production of vaccines, saying the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted shortcomings in the EU’s capacities.

The EU has signed off on the €672.5 billion instrument—the Recovery and Resilience Facility—that forms the bulk of its planned €750bn Covid-19 recovery fund. EU member state governments will allocate the funds to economy-boosting investments and reforms, which can include supporting R&D and education.