The "Nature's 10" list of 2020 released, of which 7 People related to Covid-19 pandemic

Last Updated 18 December, 2020. Cellspect Co., Ltd.

With 2020 coming to an end, on December 15th, the scientific journal Nature released "Nature's 10", an annual list of ten people who played a big part in the science stories of the year. 7 out of 10 of this year’s stories relate to the pandemic, which has killed more than 1.5 million people globally and prompted unprecedented efforts by researchers and public-health experts to combat the coronavirus. The following are the full list of Nature’s 10 and their stories.


1.    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: Warning the world

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, rallied nations to respond to the threat of the new coronavirus while navigating intense criticism over the agency’s handling of the crisis.

2.    Verena Mohaupt: Polar patroller

Verena Mohaupt, the German logistics chief for an international Arctic mission, worked to keep roughly 300 researchers safe from polar bears, extreme cold and themselves while their ship was locked in sea ice for a year.

3.    Gonzalo Moratorio: Coronavirus hunter

Uruguayan virologist Gonzalo Moratorio worked with colleagues to develop diagnostic tests for the virus, which helped his country to evade a cascade of infections and deaths.

4.    Adi Utarini: Mosquito commander

Adi Utarini, an Indonesian public-health researcher, helped lead a pioneering trial to combat dengue infections using mosquitoes bred to block transmission of the virus responsible for the disease.

5.    Kathrin Jansen: Vaccine leader

Amid a global quest to quickly develop vaccines, Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research and development at the US drug firm Pfizer, led a team that brought the world hope by expediting a clinically successful vaccine through trials in a record-setting 210 days.

6.    Zhang Yongzhen: Genome sharer

In the first days of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, Chinese virologist Zhang Yongzhen and his team rapidly determined the RNA sequence of the virus and swiftly released the information.

7.    Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: A force in physics

US cosmologist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein worked with others to shut down science for a day in June to raise awareness of systemic anti-Black racism in science institutions after George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by Minneapolis police.

8.    Li Lanjuan: Lockdown architect

Chinese epidemiologist Li Lanjuan quickly recognized the threat of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan and convinced the central government to lock down the city before a national holiday, helping to slow the virus’s spread.

9.    Jacinda Ardern: Crisis leader

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won international praise for her quick and decisive action that kept her country relatively safe from the coronavirus while also maintaining the trust of citizens.

10. Anthony Fauci: Science’s defender

Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, became the public face of the US government’s coronavirus response, providing reputable information to a concerned population while challenging misinformation spread by President Donald Trump.


This year’s Nature’s 10 includes a range of people from around the world. They might have been involved in making noteworthy discoveries, brought attention to crucial issues or gained notoriety for controversial actions. It is explicitly not an award or a ranking. Instead, it’s a way to highlight key events in the world of science through the compelling, human stories of those involved. By telling the stories of individuals in Nature’s 10, people are simultaneously chronicling the collective efforts of scientists around the globe as they continue on their journey of discovery, invention and innovation.


  1. 15 Dec 2020. “Nature’s 10: ten people who helped shape science in 2020” Nature.

  2. 16 Dec 2020. “Nature’s 10 people who helped shape the science stories of 2020” Springer Nature. Media release.

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