The European Open Science Cloud’s (EOSC) COVID-19 Data Platform, a free to use, open, digital space for researchers to share and upload data sets, has seen more than 73,000 users and 2.6 million requests since its launch on 20 April of this year.
The portal provides a single point of access to difficult to find data, such as raw and assembled viral sequences, and signposting to datasets that cannot openly be shared, in particular patient data subject to GDPR requirements, from clinical trials, hospitals and national healthcare systems.
“We are seeing the platform play a key role in allowing scientists to understand fundamental questions about the virus. Researchers are sharing knowledge on how the virus mutates when spreading, the basic biology of the virus, how it infects, whether there are any drug targets or intervention points where known drugs can be repurposed, and the human response, for example, the genetic risk factors for the severity of the disease,” said project coordinator Niklas Blomberg.
Much of the patient data needed to build a comprehensive picture of the virus, for example, genetics, proteomics and serology collected from a large number of COVID-19 patients, is unlikely to be consented to leave national jurisdictions. “These data need to be stored and shared in a secure and GDPR-compliant manner,” Blomberg said.