The past year has been one of tremendous loss. Individuals have losing beloved ones to the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous persons have gotten ill, yet some of them are still suffering from this sickness. Students have lost a full year of teaching in schools. Millions are on the bread line due to losing their steady weekly or monthly paycheck. There are those that have lost their small or home businesses which they have spent years building. Many of us have lost hugs and physical visits and travel and the enjoyment of coming together at our favorite eatery and this list can continue. Yet, this is a year that has taught us some vital things as well. Even if this may seem strange, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided some blessings, and it will not in any way lessen the continued suffering if they are brought to the forefront. As a matter of fact, the ability to acknowledge them enhances the chance that society might come out of this tribulation much more capable, more alert, and better prepared for what the future might hold. Below are some ways the entire world has changed for the better due to the pandemic.
Knowing How To Code For Vaccines
Perchance the development that may have the greatest insightful repercussion for future generations is the extraordinary advances in artificial messenger RNA or mRNA biotechnologies. Vaccines were developed at a very fast rate, the previous record for developing a vaccine was roughly four years and this was back in the 1960s. This time around, individuals we able to develop several workable COVID-19 vaccines in less than one year. A bit of luck generated some of that speed, for instance, the HIV retrovirus is infamously complicated to vaccinate against, and there is still no known vaccine for it. The coronavirus was much more vulnerable, and an international sense of urgency, plus several billion dollars in public money urged things along. Also too did tragedy increase this speed, due to the fact that the pandemic was rampant, there were more cases to test and it was much easier to get results from the trials.
However, in the middle of all of these birthed historic developments. The novel mRNA technology, which became the basis for several of the vaccines, namely those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, was a cataclysmal technical and scientific breakthrough. Companies are presently coding for vaccines and credit to advances in industrial production and science, they can mass produce the vaccines and figure out the best way to deliver them into the cells in months.
Learned To Use The Digital Infrastructure
With the widespread digital connectivity, the countless apps, the internet, it is quite easy to not remember how novel the majority of this is. Zoom video conferencing, the ever-present video service which became synonymous with work during the pandemic, and that many of the population might be sick of hearing or seeing, is less than ten years old. Similar to broadband access which gave the capability to billions of people to download or stream entertainment from home and remain in contact with family, friends, and colleagues. Although far from perfect or distributed equally, the connectivity through the internet has gotten much faster and much more extensive during the last decade; and without it, no one can fathom how more expensive or miserable the pandemic would have been.
Technology has also revealed that it is possible to make a society function more efficiently during normal times. Take for example the arrival of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre pandemic persons were told depending on the condition, nothing could be done until they had an appointment with their primary health provider, now through patient portals, doctors examine their patients from anywhere in the world. It has made access to medical help easier as persons do not have to concern themselves about transportation, excessive time off from work, or child care.
Workplaces have also been transformed by pandemic and technology. All of a sudden millions of individuals all across the planet have to determine how to get things completed without being able to physically go into the office.
Unleashed The True Spirit Of Peer Review And Open Science
Peer review which is an assessment completed by one’s colleagues, remains one of the cornerstones of the scientific process, as should be the case. Good and accurate science occurs when members of this community devoted to the advancement of knowledge could scrutinize findings, reproduce results, and investigate theories and challenge each other.
Peer review as it operates currently as a formal process is different from the spirit and idea of peer review. Scientific journals publish the work of scientists, however, these journals are owned by for-profits organizations that charge others to be able to read the findings, although the scientist that submitted the findings did so freely, without being paid. This process also prohibits the general public from accessing these findings. It is unfortunate, but scientists in particular the ones that are still young in their career continue to participate in this process because being published is the foundation for being hired, promoted, and receiving prestige.
Well fat forward to post-pandemic, it was not feasible or acceptable to remain to fool around in the slow, old, closed game, so the scientific community became free. Peer review in its true form broke out of the age-old constraints. Many of the research community began publishing their work as preprints, which means that the paper was released before it was approved by the formal publishers. They were placed in nonprofit scientific depositories which did not have paywalls. The papers also went through the formal process, and most were published, however, the pandemic forced the for-profit organizations to drop the paywalls they had set up, besides the preprints were still available for everyone to see, so no one would pay to review them.