Open-Source Collaboration Tackles COVID-19 Testing

When you think of open source, your mind likely jumps to projects such as Linux, Firefox, and other now-mainstream software. The ideals of the movement are applicable to other areas, too, however – and a group have come together to pool resources to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group has formed around Just One Giant Lab, a non-profit organisation operating out of Paris, France. They aim to create an open platform for scientific collaboration on a broad range of issues facing humanity. The current project aims to create an open-source method for safely testing for COVID-19 infection, in an attempt to help better manage cases popping up around the world.

Thus far, the group has collected a variety of resources and begun to host conference calls discussing best practices for testing for the virus. There’s discussion of various PCR assays and virus sequences that are all useful in detecting the virus, along with data from WHO reports in China. The current state of play has been boiled down in the lab notebook the group has prepared, available online.

It’s inspiring to see open-source ideals put to work in new arenas outside computer software. Time will tell if this is the new way forward, but it certainly can’t hurt to have more minds tackling the problems of today and tomorrow.

18 thoughts on “Open-Source Collaboration Tackles COVID-19 Testing

  1. Wow.
    Nobody else here. Reminds me of from ‘The Day After’,
    “This is Lawrence Kansas. Is there anybody out there? Anybody at all?”
    And that’s what’s it’s going to be like, Folks, testing kits or not.

    1. That was such a fantastic movie.

      Yeah, people are gonna be super reclusive for a bit. Wonder if anyone has calculated like the economic fatalities of this kind of response. It’s like we’re offsetting the casualties from the old to the poor

      1. It’ll be great once Spring arrives; nobody will be traveling. I’m not much of a jet-setter, but I’m thrilled that I’m actually gonna get to see Venice before it sinks! And I can get the cost of the trip back in like a month thanks to the plunging stock prices! I can’t wait for April :D


      2. Yeah we have a potential Covid-19 patient in our town. Most of the people I know
        aren’t going out. At least there’s construction in our town and most businesses
        were prepared for a shutdown anyway.

          1. Yes, and the only reason the CDC and “the government” has been doing such an “excellent job” in limiting cases found is because rather than just making the WHO kits, the CDC stupidly went for a “gold plated” kit that tested for SARS-CoV-2 AND the seasonal flu types. Regulatory CRAP which should have been waved on day one prevented private labs from making their own test kits and running them.

            You can’t find what you can’t test for because you don’t have enough kits. Now the number of cases found in the US will rapidly increase because they’ve always been there and spreading and they’re finally testing for them far later than they should have with a simple, COVID-19 ONLY test kit they should have made in the first place. A HUGE screw-up and heads should roll for it.

        1. And quite often they’re the ones handling food and touching the packaging on all the stuff people buy: perfect transmission vectors. And in the US, they’re the ones that are working part-time jobs that have no paid vacation, so they have to go to work no matter how sick they are, or risk getting fired for no-show or getting evicted for not making their rent payment.

  2. Be careful of fraudsters of one form or another working in this ‘COVID-19 cure ” space at the moment, I know of at least one making outrageous claims, you may know who I mean but I will not name them.

  3. I don’t get all the doom and gloom, over what appears to be a common cold, for the vast majority of the population. Those with underlying conditions, very old, or other health issues, should have been taking precautions, since, you know, cold and flu season. The main group of the population, should already have been taught sanitary and hygiene practices, as children. Really, don’t see the need to stop living, and hide in our houses, hoping this plague will pass.

    We got got the alert, a month or more late. People don’t cancel travel plans or a common cold. Covid-19, has been traveling, long before the testing. The testing thus far, has only been focused on the suspected of exposure, infection, or high risk of complications. Meanwhile, those, not feeling any different, than catching the common seasonal cold, shrugged it off, went about their normal routine. Containment dreams, are futile, at best, might slow some of the spread.

    Our best bet, would be to focus our efforts, on protecting the high-risk people, let everyone else pass it around, get a natural immunity. A man made vaccine, is going to be an unknown, until actually practiced for a season.

    1. So you think you have enough hospital beds and respirators for all the elderly and people with complications at at once? That’s what rapid spread of it will achieve. With precautions the cross spread will be hopefully slow enough to allow sufficient capacity to help those that get into serious breathing difficulties. And another thing, plenty of reports indicate it is like the worst flu hit ever to experience…. go ahead set your self up for the chance of the sledge hammer hit.

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