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Threats against scientists researching the novel coronavirus

Numerous scientists have been insulted and threatened over the last two years because of their studies on COVID-19, according to a survey published by the journal Science on March 24. The publication’s team invited 9,500 researchers who have published papers on the novel coronavirus to answer a questionnaire about harassment suffered in the period. Of the 510 who agreed to participate, 38% said they had been attacked on social media, by email, by phone, or even in person. Most cases involved personal insults, messages questioning or discrediting their work, and accusations of dishonesty or corruption (see graph). For some, the situation was more extreme: 6% received messages wishing them harm or death and 3% received direct death threats. Many participants said they had developed anxiety and feared for their reputation. Others admitted to new or renewed difficulties with substance abuse or stress-related illnesses and injuries.

Alexandre Affonso Republish