It is testament to the machinery of science that so much has been learned about covid-19 so rapidly. Since January the number of publications has been doubling every 14 days, reaching 1,363 in the past week alone. They have covered everything from the genetics of the virus that causes the disease to computer models of its spread and the scope for vaccines and treatments. What explains the speed? Much as in other areas of life, covid-19 has burnt away encrusted traditions.
It is common practice for medical researchers to hoard results for months or years until research is published in an academic journal. Even then, the data underpinning a study are often not made public.