Survey of COVID-19 Research Provides Fresh Overview

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have explored all COVID-19 research published during the initial phase of the pandemic. The results, which were achieved by using a machine learning-based approach and published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, will make it easier to direct future research to where it is most needed.

In the wake of the rapid spread of COVID-19, research on the disease has escalated dramatically. Over 60,000 COVID-19-related articles have been indexed to date in the medical database PubMed. This body of research is too large to be assessed by traditional methods, such as systematic and scoping reviews, which makes it difficult to gain a comprehensive overview of the science.

"Despite COVID-19 being a novel disease, several systematic reviews have already been published," says Andreas Älgå, medical doctor and researcher at the Department of Clinical Science and Education, Sodersjukhuset at Karolinska Institutet. "However, such reviews are extremely time- and resource-consuming, generally lag far behind the latest published evidence, and only focus on a specific aspect of the pandemic."

To obtain a fuller overview, Andreas Älgå and his colleagues have employed a machine learning technique that enables them to map key areas of a research field and track the development over time. This present study included 16,670 scientific papers on COVID-19 published from 14 February to 1 June 2020, divided into 14 different topics.

The study shows that the most common research topics were health care response, clinical manifestations, and psychosocial impact. Some topics, like health care response, declined over time, while others, such as clinical manifestations and protective measures, showed a growing trend of publications.

Protective measures, immunology, and clinical manifestations were the research topics published in journals with the highest average scientific ranking. The countries that accounted for the majority of publications (the USA, China, Italy and the UK) were also amongst the ones hardest hit by the pandemic.

"Our results indicate how the scientific community has reacted to the current pandemic, what issues were prioritised during the early phase and where in the world the research was conducted," says fellow-researcher Martin Nordberg, medical doctor and researcher at the Department of Clinical Science and Education, Sodersjukhuset.

The researchers have also developed a website, where regular updates on the evolution of the COVID-19 evidence base can be found.

"We hope that our results, including the website, could help researchers and policy makers to form a structured view of the research on COVID-19 and direct future research efforts accordingly," says Dr Älgå.

Andreas Älgå, Oskar Eriksson, Martin Nordberg.
Analysis of Scientific Publications During the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Topic Modeling Study.
Journal of Medical Internet Research, 10 November 2020, doi: 10.2196/21559.

Most Popular Now

AI Predicts Lung Cancer Risk

An artificial intelligence (AI) program accurately predicts the risk that lung nodules detected on screening CT will become cancerous, according to a study published in the journal Radiology. Lung cancer is...

EU Health Policy Platform Calls for Prop…

The European Commission is inviting public health stakeholders to submit initiatives for anew cycle of Thematic Networks under the EU Health Policy Platform. The purpose of a Thematic Network is...

What Next for Social Care?

Highland Marketing's advisory board welcomed Jane Brightman, social care lead at Institute of Health and Social Care Management, to discuss the sector and its technology needs. A lot of hope...

Philips Introduces the New Spectral Comp…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today announced its newest solution for precision diagnosis with the global introduction of its spectral detector-based Spectral Computed...

Web-Based System Developed to Give Care …

Black Country Pathology Services has worked with CliniSys to create the ICE Portal, a web-based application that makes it easy for care homes, or other community care settings, to be...

Grand Challenge Research Harnesses AI to…

Breast cancer has recently overtaken lung cancer to become the most common cancer globally, according to the World Health Organization. Advancing the fight against breast cancer, the BreastPathQ Challenge was...

UCSF Improves Fetal Heart Defect Detecti…

UC San Francisco researchers have found a way to double doctors' accuracy in detecting the vast majority of complex fetal heart defects in utero - when interventions could either correct...

MEDICA 2021 + COMPAMED 2021: Medical Tec…

15 - 18 November 2021, Düsseldorf, Germany. The date for the globally leading live platforms for the medical technology industry remains a fixed feature in everybody's calendar this year too. The...

New AI Technology Protects Privacy

Digital medicine is opening up entirely new possibilities. For example, it can detect tumors at an early stage. But the effectiveness of new AI algorithms depends on the quantity and...

GP use of Tech Helps Prevent Prescribing…

Academic analysis shows primary care prescribers have been preventing adverse drug reactions, harm and hospital admissions through safer prescribing, after using prescribing tech. The company behind the system also reveals...

Online Survey Successful in Gathering CO…

A pilot project using an online survey to gather data on COVID-19 symptoms received more than 87,000 responses from around the world, providing important insight into the spread of disease...