A study carried out by researchers from the University of Lagos in conjunction with counterparts from other leading universities in Nigeria, has been awarded the Guinness World Records title for the world’s largest scientific collaboration.
The study led by University of Birmingham and Edinburgh experts involved over 140,000 (One hundred and forty thousand) patients in 116 (One hundred and sixteen) countries.
The record for ‘‘Most authors on a single peer-reviewed academic paper’’ is now held by the Universities of Birmingham and Edinburgh after 15,025 scientists around the globe including researchers from the University of Lagos, contributed to the major research which pertains to the impact of COVID-19 on surgical patients.
Funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), the researchers concluded that patients waiting for surgical procedures should be treated as a vulnerable group and granted access to COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the general population, this according to the researchers will potentially help to avoid thousands of post-surgery deaths linked to the virus.
The researchers posit that their recommendation is particularly applicable to countries with Low and Middle-income (LMICs) such as Nigeria and several other African countries, where access to vaccination remains limited and mitigation measures like nasal swab screening are not available for many patients.
The scientists among whom is Professor Adesoji Ademuyiwa from the University of Lagos who heads the Lagos Hub of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and coordinated other researchers from Lagos State University, University of Ibadan, University of Ilorin, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, University of Abuja, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, University of Port Harcourt, Aminu Kano University among others, estimated that global prioritisation of pre-operative vaccination for elective patients could prevent an additional 58,687 COVID-19-related deaths in one year.
Prof. Ademuyiwa who is also the NIHR Global Surgery Unit Nigeria Lead described the research effort as part of measures to end the era of building research silos. While advocating collaboration in medical researches to achieve greater results within a short time, Prof. Ademuyiwa stressed the need for researchers to focus more on building bridges rather than silos.
He said the research collaboration which won them the Guinness World Records title has achieved a tremendous impact by giving guidance to policy makers in care of surgical patients.
The COVIDSurg Collaborative international team of researchers published its findings in BJS, Europe’s leading surgical journal, after studying data from 1,667 hospitals in countries including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, United Arab Emirate, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Launched in March 2020, the COVIDSurg Collaborative has provided data needed to support changes to surgical delivery in the fastest time frame ever seen by a surgical research group.