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With 60 ongoing clinical studies, China is leading the world in the search for an effective treatment for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Photo: Reuters

China ‘leads world in coronavirus research’, followed by United States

  • Nearly 300 clinical studies are under way in 39 countries and regions in search for an effective treatment for Covid-19
  • New index documenting all current studies will be updated weekly
China is leading the world in coronavirus research, with the highest number of active clinical studies under way, according to a new ranking by a financial information provider based in Britain.

The Coronavirus Research Index, launched by, has identified nearly 300 ongoing research projects in 39 countries and regions, all of which have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

China has 60 ongoing studies, followed by 49 in the United States and 26 in France, according to an analysis of all active Covid-19 clinical research recorded by the US-based database.

These countries “are putting the biggest efforts in understanding and dismantling coronavirus, thus helping to find an effective way to treat the disease”, said.

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However, many countries “are still far behind on coronavirus research”, said Idas Keb, Finbold co-founder, while the index showed “some correlation between countries that have the most Covid-19 cases and the number of medical studies”.

“Spain, which is second by the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, is not within the top five countries in the research index,” Keb said.

Instead, Spain – which is conducting 12 studies – is ranked sixth on the index, after Italy and Canada, with 25 and 13 research projects, respectively.
Scientific authorities from 12 countries, including the US, Italy and South Korea, released a statement in March urging corporate publishers of academic papers to make all relevant information openly and quickly available, signalling the importance of research in helping to fight the global pandemic.

The Coronavirus Research Index also lists the titles and status of the studies, the institutions involved and the interventions adopted to help manage the pandemic.

In addition to the peer-reviewed papers on – the world’s largest clinical trials database – scientists around the world have been pressing for the publication of more initial findings on preprint servers such as bioRxiv and medRxiv, since the start of the new coronavirus outbreak.

There are already 1,320 articles published on the two platforms, some of which have stirred controversy due to the lack of peer review, a process which can take months but which is regarded as essential to maintaining scientific rigour.

This measured approach to evaluating new research was upended by the coronavirus outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, as fatalities mounted and the epidemic spread rapidly to other countries.

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Some have questioned whether the publication of research before the peer review process takes place will lead to the spread of misinformation.

Scientists have countered that having more research available online has been a positive development, by widening the number of specialists who can take part in the process.

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This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: China leads world in coronavirus studies, data shows