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A Look Back at 2020 on Science & Enterprise

Covid-19 vaccine infographic

Oxford Covid-19 vaccine infographic. Click on image for full-size view. (Oxford Vaccine Group, Univ. of Oxford)

1 Jan. 2021. Happy new year from Science & Enterprise, to new and returning visitors alike. Historians will record 2020 as a pivotal and dangerous time, unleashing forces that we’re only beginning to understand. And our corner of that world at the intersection of science and business played a visible role in it.

2020, of course, was the year of the pandemic, which will also likely dominate 2021. During pandemic year 2020, Science & Enterprise drew nearly 81,100 unique visitors and more than 118,600 page views, more than double the 36,000 visitors and nearly double the 60,000 views in 2019. And our top five most-viewed stories posted last year reflect that pandemic interest:

5. … 4 April 2020. By early April, Covid-19 became a worldwide pandemic, and we posted a world map published by Statista reflecting data from Johns Hopkins University’s global Covid-19 database.

4. … 20 June 2020. By June 2020, evidence began to show certain simple steps could block much of the SARS-CoV-2 viral transmission, such as face masks and social distancing. We published a chart from The Lancet with those steps.

3. … 10 June 2020. The rapidly spreading pandemic forced academic and industry labs to look first for existing drugs that could treat people with Covid-19 infections. Our story about a California company licensing research at University of Louisville on synthetic nucleic acids for a Covid-19 therapy, designed originally to treat cancer patients.

2. … 30 April 2020. University of Oxford’s infectious disease labs designed a candidate vaccine that drug maker AstraZeneca licensed, and is now in late-stage clinical trials. Oxford released an infographic, posted above, charting the vaccine’s lineage from chimpanzee adenoviruses, then genetically engineered to target the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and attack the virus.

1. … 6 May, updated 11 May 2020. Our most viewed story in 2020 is about a simple, fast test for Covid-19 infections with treated paper dipped in specimens, created with the gene-editing technology Crispr. Soon after our story, FDA issued an emergency authorization for use of the test in clinics.

Science & Enterprise’s first story about then-named novel coronavirus appeared on 23 January 2020. The story tells about funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, for vaccines from a university lab in Australia and two biotechnology companies in the U.S. One of those biotechs, Moderna Inc., is now a household name. For the record, Science & Enterprise began reporting on the start-up company Moderna Therapeutics in 2012.

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