American Heart Association calls for reinvestments in scientific research after pandemic setback

In a Nov. 1 report, the American Heart Association laid out strategies to rebuild the scientific community after the COVID-19 pandemic led to significant setbacks in research on other diseases and halted clinical trials. 

The presidential advisory published in the AHA's Circulation journal cited data from clinicaltrials.gov that indicated about 80 percent of trials not related to COVID-19 had been stopped or interrupted.

"Over the last 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've seen remarkable scientific successes in the face of tremendous challenge," said Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, chair of the report's writing group and physician-scientist at Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine.

"However, research laboratories everywhere have faced daily impediments that began with laboratory shutdowns, followed by the need to social distance, illness, supply chain limitations, and many other obstacles that have hit every phase and every type of research."

The report outlined steps to reinvigorate the scientific and biomedical community, including a boost in federal research funding, support for scientists and institutions, more networking opportunities for scientific meetings and a long-term commitment to funding areas that support careers in research.  

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