The COVID-19 Pandemic: Topics for Research

By | July 23, 2022

Pandemics throughout human history have consistently created myriad and sometimes unprecedented problems that would require great thinkers to solve. Researchers are positive opportunists who never relent in their efforts to examine the “what,” “when,” “who,” and “how” of any situation just for the sake of bringing relief to humanity. In view of the current outbreak, researchers in the various disciplines need to think about how to understand the outbreak from a new perspective and most importantly offer urgent solutions to the challenges it poses that threaten the survival of human structures.

Since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, scientists in the health and related sciences have begun to study the etiology, epidemiology, pathophysiology, histopathology, clinical evaluation/treatment/management and diagnosis of COVID-19. A review of the scientific work in this area shows major contributions from Asian researchers, particularly from China, where the outbreak began. These diligent researchers have never relented in their efforts to medically investigate what should be done to combat the virus. These remarkable researchers continued down this path even under hazardous working conditions, some of which resulted in death. They really showed and showed what researchers have to do all the time to constantly look for solutions to ease the pain of those around them, even in times of pandemic. However, their counterparts in other countries still have more to do. There is a need for medical scientists to study the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus in different regions of the world. Interestingly, other scholars in the field of medicine are eagerly studying this phenomenon to provide informed information about the coronavirus, suggest preventive measures, and more importantly, find medical cures and vaccines to combat it completely. For example, while medical professionals are looking through the lens of mainstream medicine, herbalists are experimenting with ways to use herbal extracts to make medicines that can boost the immune system and/or provide a powerful immune buffer to fight the coronavirus. These efforts are commendable. More work needs to be done to find more efficient means of conducting COVID-19 patient testing, contact tracing and coronavirus preparedness/prevention measures.

Researchers in the field of engineering, particularly computer and mechanical engineering, are developing technologies to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Digital technologies such as drones and robocops have been developed and deployed in some countries, to sum it up, manual enforcement of lockdowns. Mobile technologies such as the development of new apps for contact tracing of patients of the COVID-19 and those who have been in contact with them are also being conceived. For example, MIT researchers are developing an artificial intelligence-based system to supplement manual contact tracing by public health workers, relying on short-range Bluetooth signals from smartphones. In South Africa, ambulances equipped with automated testing kits and laboratory services developed as a result of painstaking research efforts are being used to test and track people with the COVID-19 even in remote, hard-to-reach areas. In Ghana, the Ministry of Health recently launched the COVID-19 app for tracing people who are infected or have been in contact with carriers of the COVID-19 virus. Developed as a result of rigorous studies by some mechanical engineers and computer hardware and software engineers, these technologies are used to help fight against COVID-19. More technological tools are still needed to combat the coronavirus, and dedicated researchers in the field of engineering are constantly on the table to explore these potentials.

Researchers in agriculture have a big research task ready for them. The lockdown has led to a high record of post-harvest losses in the countries. What efficient ways are there to reduce post-harvest losses in times of pandemics and lockdowns? How can farmers use online marketing strategies and platforms to connect with customers to patronize their products and prevent them from suffering high financial losses? What can the Department of Food and Agriculture do to help these poor farmers navigate the lockdown crisis? What efficient ways are there to process perishable agricultural products from food manufacturers into non-perishable products? These are excellent topics for farmers to explore during this pandemic outbreak. Unfortunately, studies in these areas are still lacking.

The tourism and hospitality management sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many planned tours and tourist activities have been canceled due to travel bans and lockdowns. It is estimated that the global tourism sector will lose nearly $2 billion worth of revenue. This is when researchers in tourism and hospitality management could consider virtual means of marketing these tourism sites through intensified research on smart tourism and e-tourism. Not much attention has been paid to this growth area in tourism, especially in developing countries. This pandemic time should be the time when researchers in this field would find ways to raise public awareness of smart tourism and e-tourism.

Social scientists and humanities scholars such as sociologists, anthropologists and cultural scientists are tasked with examining the sociological impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, such as how to deal with social anxiety as a result of the pandemic. Also, an assessment of the economic impact of COVID-19 on doing business, the need to move into e-business, e-marketing, e-banking and other electronic forms of doing business are important issues to explore. Social and cultural anthropologists should examine the cultural and social perceptions of different people in regions of the world on the coronavirus and recommend the application of culturally relevant interventions to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, psychologists and psychiatrists need to propose ways to deal with post-traumatic disorder caused by quarantine, as well as stigma and discrimination against COVID-19 patients and their loved ones.

Additionally, it is time for educational technologists to find proactive ways to deliver online instruction via various forms of learning management systems, intelligent tutoring systems, and social media platforms. Artists need to be creative in producing cartoons and other forms of e-format characters to be advertised online to fight the myths and misinformation surrounding the treatment of COVID-19 and the need to end all forms of stigma and discrimination against to eliminate people tested for COVID-19. This is, of course, the time when researchers from all disciplines need to work together to explore pluralistic means of combating the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to Dickson Adom | #COVID19 #Pandemic #Topics #Research

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