In the course of four short months, the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has entered the annals of human history as a pandemic. After its initial identification in the Wuhan region of China in December 2019, it rapidly spread across the globe and by March 2020 had been detected in Ukraine and 110 other countries. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to have reached pandemic levels which constituted an emergency requiring implementation of quarantine measures. The continuing community spread of this originally zoonotic infection is now the most formidable and urgent challenge to the physical, psychological and economic health of humanity. The world did not anticipate the outbreak and rapid spread of COVID-19. By April, 12, 2020 some 1,800,000 persons have been infected and 110,000 have died.
Physicians and scientists around the globe are joining forces in the battle against a formidable foe that has already inflicted human, social, and economic losses not seen since World War II. Given the absence of any effective evidence-based treatments, there is a consensus that prevention is of primary importance as we strive to develop an understanding of the short- and long-term consequences of the disease. There has also been landmark recognition that inter-disciplinary scientific research into the pathogenesis and resulting pathophysiology of COVID-19 is critical to the development of improved diagnostic approaches and potentially preventive measures such as immunization, that could help us vanquish the disease.
Today, synergistic efforts by the WHO, politicians, leaders, and experts from all spheres of the society life are directed at one common goal – halting the spread of COVID-19 and finding effective measures to counteract the effects of the responsible virus, SARS-CoV-2.
The oldest Ukrainian medical journal Proceedings of the Shevchenko Scientific Society: Medical Sciences (Праці Наукового Товариства імені Шевченка. Медичні науки) cannot remain indifferent to the COVID-19 pandemic. An invitation to join a discussion of critically relevant issues in an online webinar “COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal Editorial Policies in the Modern Scientific Space and the Role of Editor Associations” on World Health Day 2020, to be moderated by Olena Zimba, MD, PhD via ZOOM (due to quarantine measures) was answered by almost 100 participants, including members of the editorial board and representatives of numerous Ukrainian institutions. Today’s issue of the Proceedings of the Shevchenko Scientific Society: Medical Sciences provides a report of that conference, with presentations and articles by leading experts in epidemiology, immunology, and infectious diseases from Danylo Halytsky National Medical University in L’viv. These include professors Natalia Vynohrad, Valentyna Chopyak, Oleksandr Zinchuk. Olena Zimba discussed the editorial challenges presented by the current pandemic and underscored the importance of integration of and cooperation between various media platforms and organizations in the modern scientific space.
A key weapon in the battle with COVID-19 is the rapid dissemination of knowledge about the signs, symptoms and course of the disease in high risk patients who suddenly find themselves in the unenviable position of having to choose “between Scylla and Charybdis” as described in ancient Greek mythology. This was the highly apposite term that one of our authors and a leader in the field of oncology and cancer chemotherapy Yarolsav Shparyk, adopted in his article on the critical danger posed by the comorbidity of cancer and COVID-19. Our other participant, the scientific team from the microbiology laboratory of Olena Korniyenko, professor at the Danylo Halytsky National Medical University in Lviv, addressed issues in the development of safety measures that would balance the risks to and preserve the dignity of the medical community while they strive to minimize the human toll of the virus. We encourage you to submit additional materials germane to urgent clinical and public health needs posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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