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Scientific research on coronaviruses: the impact of COVID-19

  • The first scientific studies on coronaviruses, of which there are roughly 40 known species, were conducted in the late 1960s. Since then, 50,296 scientific articles on the subject have been published in peer-reviewed journals1 worldwide, 78% of which are from 2020
  • The graph to the left shows that interest in the topic has grown since the turn of the century as a result of the SARS2 (2003) and Mers3 (2012) epidemics. But the number of articles on the subject exploded in 2020 and 2021
  • Between 2020 and the first half of 2021, the USA, China, and Italy4 were the leading countries in scientific papers published about coronaviruses. In the same period, 1,294 articles were published with at least one author from an institution based in Brazil, placing the country in 11th in the list of most articles on the subject
  • Among the Brazilian institutions whose researchers were authors of articles on this topic, USP, FIOCRUZ, and UFRJ4 were the most active. The top 20 institutions for papers published on the subject is completed by other public universities and two hospitals. In addition to USP, the other São Paulo–based institutions on the list are UNIFESP, UNICAMP, UNESP, and the Albert Einstein and Sírio-Libanês hospitals.

Notes (1) Scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals indexed in the Web of Science/Clarivate database   (2) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, detected in 2003, caused by SARS-CoV-1   (3) Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, detected in 2012, caused by the Mers-CoV virus   (4) An article is attributed to a country or organization if there is at least one author whose address is in said country or at said organization.

Sources Publications: Web of Science/Clarivate, accessed on 06/29/2021. Search methodology: Topic: Coronavírus. SARS-CoV-1, MERS, and information about coronaviruses: World Health Organization (WHO)

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