A research team at the School of Medicine at the University of Jordan has conducted seven studies related to the current COVID-19 pandemic during the past ten months.
This research team is led by Prof. Dr. Azmi Mahafaza, a Professor of Virology and Immunology at the School of Medicine and a Consultant in Laboratory Medicine at Jordan University Hospital.
Among these studies, a research published in Heliyon journal last January investigated the early mutations that emerged in the spike gene region of SARS coronavirus 2, and the widespread spread of the D614G mutation, which has become prevalent in the Middle East and North Africa since April 2020. This mutation linked to higher transmissibility was found to be predominant in Jordan as well
As for the second study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Pathogens, it showed that the rapidly spreading UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 had been present in Jordan since the end of November 2020, and that two Jordanian strains had caused most of the cases that accompanied the first wave of the epidemic in Jordan, in addition to the presence of 19 strains of the virus has caused disease in the country since the beginning of the epidemic.
Other studies that were carried out by the research team dealt with the negative impact of believing in conspiracy theories and misinformation in relation to higher levels of anxiety among students of the University of Jordan and among the population in Jordan in general. The results of these studies were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals (PLOS ONE and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health).
The study among the general public in Jordan revealed that about 48% of the general population in Jordan believed that the epidemic was part of a global conspiracy, and such sub-population had higher rates of anxiety compared to the group that believed that the source of the epidemic was natural.
A recent study published in the journal (Vaccines) found that the hesitation regarding taking coronavirus vaccines in the Arab region, specifically in Jordan and Kuwait, was among the highest in the world, and a scientific review was followed by the publication in the same journal that confirmed this low rate of vaccine acceptance in Jordan, and the first study showed that the reliance on social media to gain knowledge about the vaccine has been linked to greater rejection of these vaccines.
The research team that conducted the previous studies included Prof. Faris Al-Bakri, a Consultant of Infectious Diseases at Jordan University Hospital and the director of the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at the University of Jordan, and Dr. Malik Salam, the principal investigator, an Assistant Professor in Clinical Virology, and a Consultant in Laboratory Medicine at Jordan University Hospital.
These studies also involved a collaboration by the Cell Therapy Center (CTC) and the Schools of Pharmacy and Sciences in UJ, in addition to the participation of students from the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Jordan.