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Pared-Down Research Labs

As businesses and institutions hunker down to try to stem the spread of COVID-19, ScienceInsider reports labs are dialing back their research activities.

How much those activities are being curtailed varies by how severe the outbreak is in a particular area and is changing day by day, it notes. But researchers tell it that "none of the disruptions to their work compare to the human toll of the pandemic."

Still, some of those disruptions, it notes, affect long-running experiments, such as a 32-year-long study of Escherichia coli at Michigan State University, and the upkeep of mouse colonies. Other studies, including one comparing ways of giving antibiotics to treat yaws, rely on international travel and have been postponed, ScienceInsider adds. Some researchers tell it that the pandemic might lead to a shift in how they do their research. One scientist at the University of Pavia in Italy says if this continues, he might have to switch to more computational biology approaches, as that can be more readily done as telework

"It's going to be disruptive to science," Michigan State's Richard Lenski tells ScienceInsider, "but it also reminds us that we have ordinary lives and connections to people that we need to safeguard."