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"Estudos Avançados" reaches its 100th issue and resumes the dossier on the COVID-19 pandemic

by Richard Meckien - published Jul 08, 2020 02:40 PM - - last modified Apr 05, 2021 09:20 AM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Mauro Bellesa.

Capa de 'Estudos Avançados' 100

The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on economy, labor market, educational and financial systems, environment, research on drugs, and agribusiness are analyzed in the dossier of the new issue of the journal Estudos Avançados, whose digital version (Portuguese only) is available for free at SciELO.

The publication's editor, sociologist Sérgio Adorno, points out that the journal reaches its 100th issue without any interruption in the four-monthly periodicity, maintaining the editorial line defined from the beginning, which focuses on "our contemporaneity and the challenges that the present proposes for the consolidation of fairer societies with quality of life."

This harmony with the problems of the present is revealed with the continuity of the dossier on Covid-19, started in the previous issue. Under the title "Impacts of the Pandemic," the set of texts includes 12 articles, of which five are the result of a cycle of virtual meetings on possible scenarios after the pandemic. It has been organized by the IEA, USP's Dean of Research, and the São Paulo State Academy of Sciences (ACIESP).

According to Adorno, the characteristics that stand out in the articles are the density of the adopted perspectives, their timeliness, the basis on solid updated bibliography and on documentary reference sources, and the choice of fundamental issues present in the public debate, including current questions in the common and everyday conversations.

Part of the dossier includes discussions on medicines and treatment, health, biodiversity, climate change, and policies to protect the Amazon. "There are also important reflections on economic impacts, especially in the productive chains of commodities and value, food, goods, and services," he highlights. "In social terms, reflections on the serious impacts on the labor market, as well as on education, stand out at all levels."

The issue also features texts commemorating the centenary of the births of sociologist Florestan Fernandes and economist Celso Furtado, and the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, in addition to articles on the 100 years after the death of Max Weber.

Adorno also calls attention to a dialogue between Celso Furtado and Fernand Braudel, and to the audio of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 Appassionata as interpreted by pianist Eduardo Monteiro.

At the end of the issue there is an essay on the origin and constitution of the institutes for advanced study existing in the world and their role in the production of cutting-edge knowledge.

Issue #100 is dedicated to the publication's previous editor, Alfredo Bosi, who, in the words of Adorno, "ensured the preservation of this heritage from USP and the IEA for three decades (January 1989 - August 2019)."



According to Leonardo Ferreira and Adriano Andricopulo, both from the São Carlos Institute of Physics (IFSC-USP) and the Center for Research and Innovation in Biodiversity and Pharmaceuticals (CIBFar), there are about 2,000 records of clinical trials for investigating approved drugs and other possibilities against COVID-19, including small molecules and biological drugs, not counting vaccines.

However, "drug repositioning has not led to any new antiviral treatment against Covid-19." According to the researchers, the most realistic scenario comprises the development of specific antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 for the safe and effective treatment against the disease.


The impacts on education are analyzed in an article by Bernardete Angelina Gatti, a member of the advisory committee to the Chair of Basic Education (a partnership between the IEA and the Itaú Social Foundation) and senior researcher at the Carlos Chagas Foundation. Gatti discusses the issue of students' learning during the pandemic, the diversity of social realities, the situation of teachers and managers, and curricular, relational and socio-emotional aspects related to isolation and return to schools. She also ponders about the changing possibilities in the educational offer in basic education networks.

Cláudia Costin, a member of IEA's Board and director of the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Educational Policies (CEIPE) at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, addresses trends in basic education in Brazil in the face of the conditions imposed by the pandemic, of the commitments that Brazil assumed in 2015 in relation to sustainability and, in particular, to the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (to provide quality education) and the so-called Industry 4.0, which tends to rapidly eliminate jobs.


For physicist Paulo Artaxo, from USP's Institute of Physics (IF), the world and the humanity face three important crises: 1) that of health, intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic; 2) the loss of biodiversity; and 3) the climatic emergency. He points out that the three crises are linked despite having important differences, "but they all have strong social and economic impacts and affect the planet globally."

For him, the pandemic has revealed deficiencies in global governance and the climate crisis "has potential for very strong socio-economic damage, reflecting in effects that are already easily visible." As for the loss of biodiversity, he mentions the risk to food security and to the balance of the terrestrial system. "The Amazon, for example, contains thousands of viruses in its fauna and flora. The unrestrained process of the region's occupation will possibly make new viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 come into contact with our society."

It is necessary to recognize the link between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human health, and thus join efforts in order to prevent the emergence of new pandemics, warn Carlos Alfredo Joly, from the University of Campinas's Institute of Biology, and Helder Lima de Queiroz, from the Mamirauá Instituto for Sustainable Development.

In line with Artaxo's warning, Joly and Queiroz point out that countries like Brazil, "with high levels of social vulnerability and environmental degradation, have a high probability that new pathogens living in wild species will be transferred to human hosts."


For Simão Davi Silber, a senior professor at USP's School of Economics, Business, and Accounting (FEA), the pandemic has demonstrated how "exogenous adverse shocks in the economic system" disorganize the economy and create a mismatch between the economic world and the possible actions of the State. In his opinion, these actions fail to reach all economic agents to preserve them from the crisis and the result is the "destruction of companies, and of physical and human capital" that will no longer be recovered.

For Camila Villard Duran, from USP's Faculty of Law (FD), however, the international financial market found a way to sustain itself during the pandemic thanks to the consolidation of a model of global monetary cooperation. According to the researcher, the hierarchical network of operations called foreign exchange swaps, headed by the American central bank Federal Reserve (the Fed), "was the legal arrangement structured to support the functioning of the global financial market and its currency par excellence: the Eurodollar."

The reconfiguration of global value chains is the theme of the article by Afonso Fleury, from USP's Polytechnic School (EP), and Maria Tereza Leme Fleury, from FEA-USP and the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV). Both analyze the evolution of these chains - orchestrated by multinationals with the support of digital technologies -, how governments and companies are reacting to the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, and how the chains will be reconfigured.


If the financial market has found a way to preserve itself, the same does not apply to the labor market. According to sociologist Maria Aparecida Bridi, from the Federal University of Paraná, the health crisis caused by SARS-CoV-2 "has increased its fragility as it has been undergoing a rapid deterioration process in the last four years in Brazil."

In her article, she discusses the various aspects of the labor market scenario in the context of the pre-pandemic economic crisis, the indicators during the pandemic, and "the challenges imposed on unionism resulting from the intensification of the neoliberal agenda in the last four years."


The scope and depth of the crisis resulting from the pandemic on agriculture and agribusiness in Brazil are discussed in the article written by Sergio Schneider, Abel Cassol, Alex Leonardi, and Marisson Marinho. They also look at the effects of the pandemic on family farming, the meat processing sector, and food distribution.

If, on the one hand, they point to the possibility of greater international insertion of Brazilian agribusiness, on the other hand they identify potential problems in domestic supply and possible price increases, as well as "food inflation, which results from both increased demand and production costs due to exchange devaluation, representing a stimulus to exports."

Food under the impact of SARS-CoV-2 is the subject of an article by three other researchers: Bernardete de Melo Franco, Mariza Landgraf, and Uelinton Manoel Pinto. The study is dedicated to answering whether food and its packaging can cause COVID-19, whether the industry and the food sector can be responsible for the spread of the virus, and what preventive measures consumers can take.