The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had worldwide repercussions for health care and research. In spring 2020, most non-COVID-19 research was halted, hindering research across the spectrum from laboratory-based experimental science to clinical research. Through the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, biomedical research, including cardiovascular science, only gradually restarted, with many restrictions on onsite activities, limited clinical research participation, and the challenges associated with working from home and caregiver responsibilities. Compounding these impediments, much of the global biomedical research infrastructure was redirected toward vaccine testing and deployment. This redirection of supply chains, personnel, and equipment has additionally hampered restoration of normal research activity. Transition to virtual interactions offset some of these limitations but did not adequately replace the need for scientific exchange and collaboration. Here, we outline key steps to reinvigorate biomedical research, including a call for increased support from the National Institutes of Health. We also call on academic institutions, publishers, reviewers, and supervisors to consider the impact of COVID-19 when assessing productivity, recognizing that the pandemic did not affect all equally. We identify trainees and junior investigators, especially those with caregiving roles, as most at risk of being lost from the biomedical workforce and identify steps to reduce the loss of these key investigators. Although the global pandemic highlighted the power of biomedical science to define, treat, and protect against threats to human health, significant investment in the biomedical workforce is required to maintain and promote well-being.
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cardiovascular Science: Anticipating Problems and Potential Solutions: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association.