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COVID-19 has sparked new relationships between academia and policymakers – we must maintain them

By Stephen Reicher, Bishop Wardlaw Professor in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews
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In the aftermath of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19, the New York Times stated that “science has failed to guard us”. This was hardly unfair, given that scientists were unsure what had even caused the pandemic, let alone how to treat it – beyond basic public health measures such as fresh air and quarantining the sick.

A century on and things couldn’t be more different. Within weeks of the new disease emerging, the coronavirus genome had been sequenced and specific tests for SARS-CoV-2 developed. Within a year, new vaccines have been tested, licensed and rolled out to the public.

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