COVID-19 is caused by a virus known as SARS-CoV-2. The virus emerged in late 2019, joining the SARS and MERS viruses and four ‘common cold’ coronaviruses as the seventh known human coronavirus. Following its detection in December 2019, SARS-CoV-2 rapidly spread around the globe and continues to threaten public health today.
The World Health Organisation has produced a timeline of key international events from the first year and a half of the pandemic and a New Zealand thinktank continues to update a timeline of key COVID-19 events in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Last updated: 9 February 2022
With the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out across Aotearoa New Zealand, we have curated a list of annotated links to trusted information about COVID-19 vaccines.
Science in emergencies: COVID-19 documentaries
By independent filmmaker Shirley Horrocks
Prepared under urgency
Please note that many of these documents reflect current information at a particular point in time, during a rapidly evolving situation.
Israel: Vaccine roll-out and border restrictions – 2 June 2021
A short document detailing the vaccination situation and border restrictions in Israel.
Download ‘Israel: Vaccine roll-out and border restrictions’ (PDF, 284KB)
Can SARS-CoV-2 survive in refrigerated environments – and for how long? – 20 October 2020
A short document on the highly uncertain evidence base for the possibility of SASR-CoV-2 transmission via the cold supply chain. This has been updated with new information on 20 October 2020.
Download ‘Can SARS-CoV-2 survive in refrigerated environments – and for how long?’ (PDF, 208KB)
Rapid review: The role of genomics – 21 September 2020
A commissioned rapid review on the role of COVID-19 genomics in contact tracing, cluster analysis and viral evolution. Produced under urgency by lead author Professor Michael Bunce, Chief Scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) – Te Mana Rauhī Taiao.
Download the report ‘The role of COVID-19 genomics’ (PDF, 5MB)
COVID-19 vaccines – 7 September 2020
A summary of COVID-19 vaccine development efforts including the different approaches, potential challenges, and the current frontrunners.
Download the ‘COVID-19 vaccines’ report (updated 7 September 2020) (PDF, 1MB)
Download the ‘COVID-19 vaccines’ report (updated 16 July 2020) (PDF, 941KB)
Download the ‘COVID-19 vaccines’ report (21 May 2020 version) (PDF, 793KB)
Masks prevent the spread of COVID-19 – 13 August 2020
A short document on the evidence base for mask wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 plus explanation of the different types of masks.
Download ‘Masks prevent the spread of COVID-19’ (PDF, 202KB)
COVID-19 and vitamin D – 2 June 2020
Produced by Cherie Tollemache, one of our MacDiarmid interns, this report summarises the evidence for a link between vitamin D status and COVID-19 severity.
Download the ‘COVID-19 and vitamin D’ report (PDF, 867KB)
COVID-19 and seasonality – 18 May 2020
Produced by Stephen Lo, one of our MacDiarmid interns, this report examines the role of climate and weather in the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Download the ‘COVID-19 and seasonality’ report (PDF, 375KB)
Is SARS-CoV-2 airborne? – 14 May 2020
This short summary describes research investigating whether an airborne transmission route is possible for SARS-CoV-2 and what role this might play in the progression of the pandemic.
Download the report ‘Is SARS-CoV-2 airborne?’ (PDF, 191KB)
Serology testing for COVID-19 antibodies – 29 April 2020
Focusing specifically on antibody testing, this review builds on the paper below led by Professor Michael Bunce, Chief Scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) – Te Mana Rauhī Taiao.
Download the report ‘Serology testing for the presence of antibodies against COVID-19’ (PDF, 496KB)
Testing for COVID-19 – 30 March 2020
A commissioned review on COVID-19 testing methods, produced under urgency by lead author Professor Michael Bunce, Chief Scientist at the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) – Te Mana Rauhī Taiao.
Download the report ‘Testing for COVID-19’ (PDF, 880KB)
Download the appendices for the report (PDF, 2.41MB)
Below are links to advisory information provided to the Prime Minister during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
October 2021: The PM requested that Juliet and Ian Town convene an expert group to provide feedback on an earlier iteration of the traffic light system for COVID-19 protection once vaccination targets are reached. The final system is significantly strengthened compared to the consultation draft which was shared with the group. You can read the feedback provided under urgency here (PDF, 309KB)
Aotearoa New Zealand will soon shift to a new COVID-19 'traffic light' system. Juliet speaks about science advice and feedback provided to inform the new framework.
Aotearoa New Zealand's trust in scientists is among the highest in the world, according to a new study. Juliet spoke to science journalist Jamie Morton at the NZ Herald about the findings.
Meet some of the key players in the Government's COVID-19 response.
The behind-the-scenes story in the lead-up to our Delta COVID-19 outbreak, as told by NZ Herald journalist Matt Nippert.
Read selected media coverage on the Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World Forum, emceed by Juliet.
Universal genome sequencing and exquisitely detailed tracing of COVID-19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand offers unique insights into how COVID-19 spreads.
How is Aotearoa New Zealand using genome sequencing in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Watch the latest documentary from independent filmmaker Shirley Horrocks.
A Newsroom article on the surge in waste and single-use plastics generated by the COVID-19 pandemic features commentary from Rachel.
EPA Chief Scientist Professor Michael Bunce spoke to RNZ's Morning Report about his rapid review on genomics for COVID-19.
A new rapid review outlines the strengths and areas for improvement in Aotearoa New Zealand's application of genomics in the COVID-19 pandemic.
We reflect on the role of genome sequencing in the most recent COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland as the EPA Chief Scientist Professor Michael Bunce publishes a rapid review on the topic.
When will we have a COVID-19 vaccine? And are our borders sufficiently secure now? Science reporter Jamie Morton spoke to Juliet and other scientists about five burning coronavirus questions facing NZ.
The doco, by independent filmmaker Shirley Horrocks, features key players in Aotearoa’s COVID-19 response.
Juliet and Rachel reflect on the risks of reopening Aotearoa New Zealand’s borders in the midst of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Banner images: NIAID/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)