Motivated by the recent launching of a major open data repository on COVID-19 supported by São Paulo Research Foundation - FAPESP, with anonymized data on 180,000 patients provided by research institutions and hospitals in the state of São Paulo, the online event FAPESP COVID-19 Research Webinar will address the relevance, the difficulties, and how initiatives such as this repository and the Research Data Alliance efforts can contribute to the global effort towards dealing with the pandemic, as well as the challenges and benefits of COVID-19 data sharing.
It will be broadcasted on Youtube on the 5th of August, at 10:00 am (3:00 UTC).
Since June 17, universities and research institutions have been able to access COVID-19 Data Sharing/BR, the country's first repository of anonymized demographic, clinical and laboratory data regarding patients tested for COVID-19 in the state of São Paulo. The purpose of the platform is to enable sharing of patient data to support scientific research on the disease in various knowledge areas.
Three categories of information can be extracted from the repository: demographics (patient gender, year of birth and area of residence); clinical exams, laboratory tests and hospitalizations; and outcomes (recovery or death). Later it will also contain images, such as X-rays and CT scans.
COVID-19 Data Sharing/BR holds Brazilian patient data with sufficient quality for inclusion in major cross-border studies, contributing not only to research on the epidemic in Brazil but also to a faster pace of global research and development leading to vaccines or a cure for the disease.
The initial dataset posted on June 17 was accessed and downloaded by scientists from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Creation of the database is an initiative taken by FAPESP in partnership with the University of São Paulo (USP). Leading hospitals and clinical laboratory chains are participating. So far the partners are Fleury Group (a private laboratory chain) and two leading private hospitals in São Paulo City, Hospital Sírio-Libanês and Albert Einstein Jewish Hospital (HIAE), which have contributed infrastructure, technology and personnel to facilitate data sharing. FAPESP is in advanced talks with other public and private healthcare institutions, which are being invited to upload data to COVID-19 Data Sharing/BR.
"The key idea behind the platform is to assist scientific research on COVID-19 by sharing data that wouldn't otherwise be available and mobilize the community of computer scientists, mathematicians and information analysts to contribute new ideas for combating the epidemic," Luiz Eugênio Mello, FAPESP's Scientific Director, said.
For Cláudia Bauzer Medeiros, a professor in UNICAMP's Computer Science Institute and a participant in the project, the repository will be useful not only for research on COVID-19 but also as a support for policymaking to prevent a recurrence of situations like the current crisis and attenuate the impact of future pandemics. "The repository collects data produced by Brazilians and will contribute to world science," she said.
The launch of the repository is part of the global open science movement to make research data publicly available for free. The momentum of the open science movement has been boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from Luiz Eugênio Mello and Cláudia Bauzer Medeiros will take part in the online meeting Anne Cambon-Thomsen (French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Inserm and University Toulouse III Paul Sabatier), Dawei Lin( National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institute of Health - NIAID/NIH, USA), Amy Pienta (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, University of Michigan, USA) and Maurício Barreto (Federal University of Bahia - UFBA) as speakers.
About São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)
The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is a public institution with the mission of supporting scientific research in all fields of knowledge by awarding scholarships, fellowships and grants to investigators linked with higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. FAPESP is aware that the very best research can only be done by working with the best researchers internationally. Therefore, it has established partnerships with funding agencies, higher education, private companies, and research organizations in other countries known for the quality of their research and has been encouraging scientists funded by its grants to further develop their international collaboration. You can learn more about FAPESP at http://www.