Outbreaks of publications about emerging infectious diseases: the case of SARS-CoV-2 and Zika virus.

Ipekci, Aziz Mert; Buitrago-Garcia, Diana; Meili, Kaspar Walter; Krauer, Fabienne; Prajapati, Nirmala; Thapa, Shabnam; Wildisen, Lea; Araujo-Chaveron, Lucia; Baumann, Lukas; Shah, Sanam; Whiteley, Tessa; Solís-García, Gonzalo; Tsotra, Foteini; Zhelyazkov, Ivan; Imeri, Hira; Low, Nicola; Counotte, Michel Jacques (2021). Outbreaks of publications about emerging infectious diseases: the case of SARS-CoV-2 and Zika virus. BMC Medical research methodology, 21(1), p. 50. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12874-021-01244-7

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BACKGROUND

Outbreaks of infectious diseases generate outbreaks of scientific evidence. In 2016 epidemics of Zika virus emerged, and in 2020, a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused a pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We compared patterns of scientific publications for the two infections to analyse the evolution of the evidence.

METHODS

We annotated publications on Zika virus and SARS-CoV-2 that we collected using living evidence databases according to study design. We used descriptive statistics to categorise and compare study designs over time.

RESULTS

We found 2286 publications about Zika virus in 2016 and 21,990 about SARS-CoV-2 up to 24 May 2020, of which we analysed a random sample of 5294 (24%). For both infections, there were more epidemiological than laboratory science studies. Amongst epidemiological studies for both infections, case reports, case series and cross-sectional studies emerged first, cohort and case-control studies were published later. Trials were the last to emerge. The number of preprints was much higher for SARS-CoV-2 than for Zika virus.

CONCLUSIONS

Similarities in the overall pattern of publications might be generalizable, whereas differences are compatible with differences in the characteristics of a disease. Understanding how evidence accumulates during disease outbreaks helps us understand which types of public health questions we can answer and when.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Ipekci, Aziz Mert; Buitrago Garcia, Diana Carolina; Wildisen, Lea Franziska; Imeri, Hira; Low, Nicola and Counotte, Michel Jacques

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services

ISSN:

1471-2288

Publisher:

BioMed Central

Funders:

[4] Swiss National Science Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Beatrice Minder Wyssmann

Date Deposited:

13 Mar 2021 14:02

Last Modified:

31 Mar 2021 09:37

Publisher DOI:

10.1186/s12874-021-01244-7

PubMed ID:

33706715

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/153824

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/153824

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