Perspectives of (/memorandum for) systems thinking on COVID-19 pandemic and pathology

Felix Tretter, Eva M J Peters, Joachim Sturmberg, Jeanette Bennett, Eberhard Voit, Johannes W Dietrich, Gary Smith, Wolfram Weckwerth, Zvi Grossman, Olaf Wolkenhauer, James A Marcum

Is data-driven analysis sufficient for understanding the COVID-19 pandemic and for justifying public health regulations? In this paper, we argue that such analysis is insufficient. Rather what is needed is the identification and implementation of over-arching hypothesis-related and/or theory-based rationales to conduct effective SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 (Corona) research. To that end, we analyse and compare several published recommendations for conceptual and methodological frameworks in medical research (e.g., public health, preventive medicine and health promotion) to current research approaches in medical Corona research. Although there were several efforts published in the literature to develop integrative conceptual frameworks before the COVID-19 pandemic, such as social ecology for public health issues and systems thinking in health care, only a few attempts to utilize these concepts can be found in medical Corona research. For this reason, we propose nested and integrative systemic modelling approaches to understand Corona pandemic and Corona pathology. We conclude that institutional efforts for knowledge integration and systemic thinking, but also for integrated science, are urgently needed to avoid or mitigate future pandemics and to resolve infection pathology.

Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
External organisation(s)
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (JLU), Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, University of Newcastle, International Society for Systems and Complexity Sciences for Health, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Georgia Institute of Technology, St. Josef-Hospital - Klinikum der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Katholisches Klinikum Bochum - Klinik Blankenstein, Centre for Rare Endocrine Diseases (ZSE), Ruhr Centre for Rare Diseases (CeSER), Bochum, Germany., Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), International Society for the Systems Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Universität Rostock, Baylor University
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106044 Systems biology, 303034 Virology, 303012 Health sciences
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, Health Policy
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
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