WEDNESDAY, May 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Nearly half of cancer research has been stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the results of a survey of American Cancer Society (ACS) grantees.

In early April, the ACS surveyed all of its 744 currently funded researchers to assess the state of their projects during the COVID-19 pandemic; 488 grantees responded to the survey (66 percent response rate).

The researchers found that half of grantees (51 percent) indicated the pandemic had a “high impact,” with all research or training activities paused until further notice; 43 percent reported a “modest impact,” with only some aspects paused; and 7 percent reported a “low impact,” with research or training continuing as planned. Just over half of respondents (54 percent) were working entirely remotely; one-third were working mostly remotely, with occasional in-person visits to the office/campus/lab; and 8 percent were working mostly or entirely in their normal work setting. Similarly, the vast majority (91 percent) reported their institutions only permitted essential personnel, 59 percent reported their institutions had closed laboratories, 57 percent reported their institutions had temporarily halted research, and 4 percent reported their institutions remained entirely open.

“It is abundantly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on cancer research,” William C. Phelps, Ph.D., ACS senior vice president of extramural research, said in a statement. “In some labs queried for our survey, all nonessential research had been halted, with research on COVID-19 being the only type of research being encouraged. In addition to the deceleration in progress against cancer, these laboratories and institutions will face significant additional costs associated with restarting the cancer research enterprise in the coming months.”

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