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.