The European Commission is aiming to do its bit for the fight against the coronavirus by launching a Covid-19 data hub, where researchers will be able to share and store data from DNA sequences and protein structures through to data from pre-clinical research.
The new “open” platform aims to build bridges between national public health service data and the commission, along with the European Molecular Biology Lab’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), and EU member states and research partners.
Brussels also said it would be running a pan-European "hackathon" later this month to “mobilise European innovators and the civil society”; nearly 50 public and private organisations have already signed up.
The platform, dubbed the Covid-19 Data Portal, will bring together data-sets submitted to EMBL-EBI and other major centres for biomedical data to accelerate coronavirus research.
Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, said: “Launching the platform is an important concrete measure for stronger co-operation in fighting the coronavirus. Building on our dedicated support for open science and open access over the years, now is the time to step up our efforts and stand united with our researchers. Through our joint efforts, we will better understand, diagnose and eventually overpower the pandemic.”
The UK, which signed the EU Withdrawal Agreement in January, is creating its own Covid-19 data hub, although it is not known whether this will ultimately be incorporated into the commission’s plan.
NHS England and tech arm NHSX are working with tech giants, including Google, Microsoft and Apple, as well as London AI specialist Plantir Technologies & Faculty.
The platform brings together different data-sets from the NHS and social care, including 111 online and call centre data from NHS digital and Covid-19 test results from Public Health England. Data will then be “integrated, cleaned and harmonised” into a single information source.
NHSX chief Matthew Gould wrote in a blog post: “The results will be presented as dashboards that give a live view of the metrics needed to track and understand the current spread of the crisis, and the capacity in the healthcare system to deal with it.”