• Waiting for the truth: is reluctance in accepting an early origin hypothesis for SARS-CoV-2 delaying our understanding of viral emergence?

      Institute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine (Temple University) (2022-03-16)
      Two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, key questions about the emergence of its aetiological agent (SARS-CoV-2) remain a matter of considerable debate. Identifying when SARS-CoV-2 began spreading among people is one of those questions. Although the current canonically accepted timeline hypothesises viral emergence in Wuhan, China, in November or December 2019, a growing body of diverse studies provides evidence that the virus may have been spreading worldwide weeks, or even months, prior to that time. However, the hypothesis of earlier SARS-CoV-2 circulation is often dismissed with prejudicial scepticism and experimental studies pointing to early origins are frequently and speculatively attributed to false-positive tests. In this paper, we critically review current evidence that SARS-CoV-2 had been circulating prior to December of 2019, and emphasise how, despite some scientific limitations, this hypothesis should no longer be ignored and considered sufficient to warrant further larger-scale studies to determine its veracity.
    • We need to start thinking about promoting the demand, uptake, and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines NOW!

      Abila, Derrick Bary; Dei-Tumi, Sharon D.; Humura, Fabrice; Aja, Godwin N. (2020-11)
      SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly within countries around the world, thus necessitating the World Health Organisation (WHO) to project that the peak of the pandemic has not been reached yet. Globally, COVID-19 public health control measures are being implemented; however, promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates are still in the early-stage clinical trials. Judging from previous vaccine programs around the world and the challenges encountered in the distribution and uptake, there seems to be no guarantee that there will be widespread acceptance and equitable distribution of the new COVID-19 vaccines when they are approved for use. Therefore, there is an urgent need to start engaging the public to allay their fears and misconceptions with the view to building trust and promoting acceptance and ultimately achieving a potential impact in controlling the pandemic. Borrowing from previously used successful public health strategies, including the application of the health belief model to engage communities, can go a long way in promoting the demand, uptake, and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, thereby minimizing the likelihood of vaccine hesitancy.
    • When your data has COVID-19: how the changing context disrupts data collection and what to do about it

      Prommegger, Barbara; Thatcher, Jason; Wiesche, Manuel; Krcmar, Helmut; Thatcher|0000-0002-7136-8836 (2020-12-15)
      Global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, change the context for research and bring with them many professional challenges for IS researchers – not the least of which is disrupting carefully thought-out data collection efforts. In this confessional tale, we describe how moving from an “open research ecosystem” to a “socially distanced research ecosystem” has affected a long-planned data collection effort. While government orders to socially distance and physically isolate may have made the world “stand still” for some, we found that these orders had dynamic and consequential effects for our in-process research. Against the backdrop of significant threats posed by the contextual change to our data collection, we explain how the crisis also opened up opportunities to invigorate our understanding of how the environment affects how we conduct research. We conclude our tale with guidelines for how to successfully respond when your research is interrupted by a change of context.
    • Will Investments in Human Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis Pay Off After the Crisis?

      Oh, In‐Sue; Han, Joo Hun (2021-02-03)
      Rudolph et al. (2020), in their focal article, discussed two areas of strategic human resources (HR) policies/practices in which the COVID-19 pandemic crisis calls for action and attention from both HR managers and researchers. The first area is downsizing, which is unavoidable in many firms due to the immediate negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on firm financial performance. The other area is online training, which deserves more attention due to the immediate need for educating employees for skills that are necessary to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Whereas Rodolph et al. drew on evidence from research when they suggested that “HR managers should strive for a transparent and fair way of communication about downsizing measures” (p. XX), they did not provide evidence-based advice regarding the use of online training. Instead, given the lack of relevant research evidence, Rodolph et al. advanced an interesting research question – “empirical HR research will have to test if [investing in online training during the crisis] indeed pays off in increasing employee skills and productivity in the mid and long run” (p. XX). We believe that recent strategic HR research can provide some useful insights into this question, as discussed below.