Swedish Scientist Faces Backlash Over COVID-19 Research, Sweden to Strengthen Academic Freedom Laws

March 2, 2021

Jonas Ludvigsson, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute and a pediatrician at Örebro University Hospital, examined the incidence of COVID-19 in children. He noted relatively low rates of severe disease in children. His peer-reviewed publication was seen as in direct opposition to government guidelines regarding the spread of COVID-19 and he faced considerable backlash. In response, he terminated his research on COVID-19. Now, Sweden is considering avenues to bolster academic freedom by revising related laws.

According to Ole Petter Otterson, the president of the Karolinska Institute, “A tough debate and a diversity of opinions based on facts and evidence are necessary elements of science and public discourse, but hateful and scornful accusations and personal attacks cannot be tolerated. We already see that researchers retreat from the public debate after being threatened or harassed, and in my own institution a leading researcher just decided to give up his covid-19 research for the same reason.” Read more here.

(Source: Ingrid Torjesen, BMJ, 2/18/21)


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