How the world’s scientists are coming together serves as a model for anti-hazing efforts

The following post for StopHazing was written by author and anti-hazing activist Hank Nuwer. For more information on Hank, check out his website at www.hanknuwer.com.

These are tough times for all the world’s men and women. Without any self-whining or too many details, my wife and I have been affected. I chose to hand in my letter of retirement to Franklin College early this year before any of our public officials announced the realistic grim projections for the disease. WE have to find new housing out of state at a time all travel is restricted, and I, not a Polish citizen, cannot get to our safe haven, a cabin in a remote woods in Poland. Neither of us can get to our adopted state of Alaska since we are technically non-residents in spite of our summer 20 acres. But more than enough of my wife Gosia and me.

We are hopeful. Yes, hopeful.

What heartens me is the way scientists across the nation have foregone personal glory and scientific honors to share information on the coronavirus’s genetic makeup and other research findings. Here’s a short blurb from April 1st’s New York Times–and by the way, here is a shoutout to my journalistic brothers and sisters worldwide that have more than stepped up to inform all citizens about virus prevention.

While political leaders have locked their borders, scientists have been shattering theirs, creating a global collaboration unlike any in history. Never before, researchers say, have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic and with such urgency. Nearly all research, other than anything related to coronavirus, has ground to a halt.

Normal imperatives like academic credit have been set aside. Online repositories make studies available months ahead of journals. Researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences. More than 200 clinical trials have been started, bringing together hospitals and laboratories around the globe.

On a recent morning, for example, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that a ferret exposed to Covid-19 particles had developed a high fever — a potential advance toward animal vaccine testing. Under ordinary circumstances, they would have started work on an academic journal article.

“But you know what? There is going to be plenty of time to get papers published,” said Paul Duprex, a virologist leading the university’s vaccine research. Within two hours, he said, he had shared the findings with scientists around the world on a World Health Organization conference call. “It is pretty cool, right? You cut the crap, for lack of a better word, and you get to be part of a global enterprise.”

Dr. Duprex’s lab in Pittsburgh is collaborating with the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the Austrian drug company Themis Bioscience. The consortium has received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, a Norway-based organization financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a group of governments, and is in talks with the Serum Institute of India, one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world.

Yes, this heartens me and makes me confident that this virus, this monster, can be struck down and conquered. It makes me determined to join the fight against the wildlife trade that has put this virus into the now-dead and sickened bodies of suffering souls worldwide.

Like other hazing researchers, for decades they and I have said “good science is the only way to defeat hazing.”* This is why I founded the Hazing Research unit at Buffalo State College’s Special Collections under the tireless archivist Daniel DiLandro and why I publish information here about gains in hazing research by Elizabeth Allan of the University of Maine and numerous others. This is why I came back from a self-imposed short retirement to begin my research into the history of hazing and to create additional research into how many deaths have been caused by hazing.  I hope we don’t lose sight of the need to end hazing deaths even as we all pray for an end to so many other deaths in this brutal pandemic.

Blessings and stay healthy. Be kind to one another. Help whoever you can.  –Hank Nuwer, USA and Poland

*For an introduction to the importance of good research into fraternity and sorority life, I recommend you read online THE NECESSITY FOR RESEARCH ON FRATERNITY/SORORITY CULTURE by Patrick Biddix, Oracle Editor.