Mar 25, 2020

ELIXIR, Open Science and COVID-19

ConvergeOpen data and science is key against COVID-19, have a look at the efforts and resources provided by ELIXIR and ELIXIR Norway.

Extraordinary global efforts are now being made on developing effective countermeasures against COVID-19, and sharing of data and analytics is key for a successful response. The sense of emergency painfully highlights the importance of collaborative research and open, reproducible science. In recognition of this, more than hundred institutions, companies, policy makers, funders, publishers and other agencies world wide have signed a statement made by the Wellcome Trust on sharing data in public health emergencies, and now affirms these in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. 

ELIXIR plays a central role in hosting, maintaining, coordinating and connecting publicly funded databases and analysis tools that are now being used in the race against COVID-19. An overview of ELIXIR support for SARS-CoV-2 was just published on the ELIXIR Europe webpages, and is well worth a visit.

ELIXIR is also supporting research on COVID-19 through EOSC (European Open Science Cloud) Life and the European Galaxy platforms. The need for open data and open analytics in order to achieve agile and effective responses against rapidly emerging pathogens was further stressed in a recent publication from Galaxy teams from the US, Australia and ELIXIR. ELIXIR Norway contributes actively to the ELIXIR Galaxy community, and we are ready to scale up our engagement by providing compute resources for relevant analyses made available through the European Galaxy server. 

ELIXIR Norway will further collaborate with the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH/FHI) and other institutions that are sequencing and analysing SARS-CoV-2 within the Norwegian population, aiming to make data available for the research community. ELIXIR Norway offers support on data management of life science data, and may assist when it comes to managing, analyzing and sharing sequences from the current pandemic. We may also give advice on how to re-use virus data provided by other institutions and countries.

To help and guide researchers and other interested parties also in Norway, we are setting up a COVID-19 information page on the Norwegian ELIXIR web pages. This page highlights bioinformatics resources such as data sets and analysis methods that are relevant to the situation. 

Last, but not least, as always, our Helpdesk may assist researchers wanting to use bioinformatics resources, who may need support and advice on how to do this and get started.

Image: from a virtual screening of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease provided by the team