We are currently in the fallout from COVID19. The focus has shifted from containment of the pandemic to making progress towards normality. This won’t be as simple as it sounds, as we have no idea if the normal we are heading towards is the normal we once knew. The rate of progress will vary for different industries and nations, and will depend on many factors.
It is easy to feel hopeless in an uncertain world. It is often hard to imagine what you can do to help society, and it is true that it may be difficult to directly help without possessing some of the key skills that are in demand. Unfortunately, I do not have the answers to these conundrums, but I do believe that progress is made by the unsung heroes of society and their actions. One area where this sentiment rings true is scientific research.
An obvious area to start is the most pressing scientific issue right now; the search for a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. There is a global effort to design and implement an ethically viable and effective vaccine. You might be thinking what this has got to do with you? The success of these efforts relies on people like you coming forward and volunteering for a greater cause.
The same is true for scientific issues that might not seem as obvious. Whilst most research funding and focus has been directed towards COVID19, there are many global health issues that have not been put on pause by the virus. The World Health Organisation acknowledges that we are in the midst of a global obesity epidemic, with metabolic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease becoming increasingly prevalent and causing burden on health systems. We are in need of participants for all areas of research that are continuing despite the global pandemic. Volunteers are essential to continue the pursuit of knowledge.
As a scientific community, we struggle to connect the people like you who want to help with people who are running scientific studies. You often have to trawl through clinical trials registries to find a suitable study, or happen to stumble across a flyer in the local area. Researchers cannot rely on unwavering self-motivation and knowledge of registries, or pure chance, to find good people wanting to contribute to society by volunteering. This is where I see Neucruit (formerly known as CT-X) stepping in and bridging the gap between participants and researchers.
The true heroes of science are the participants. We laud Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine, who deserve much praise for their achievements and contributions, yet we rarely spare a thought for the individuals who volunteered their time, bodies, and experiences to a greater cause. Taking a slightly poetic turn to finish, Bertolt Brecht once wrote:
‘Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the names of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
Where, the evening that the wall of China was finished
Did the masons go?’
One thing you can do to help in these uncertain times is participate in scientific research. Advance human knowledge of an obscure field, or find out more information about yourself by participating and requesting your data, whilst helping humanity return to a new normal.