JAMA Pediatrics: Real-Time Sharing of Zika Virus Data in an Interconnected World

JAMA Pediatrics has released an article authored by LabKey collaborator Dave O’Connor highlighting “Real-Time Sharing of Zika Virus Data in an Interconnected World.” In the piece, O’Connor shares about the development of the Zika experimental science team (ZEST) and the evolution of Zika virus open-data sharing.

“As Zika virus reemerged in 2015, an internal HipChat (https://www.hipchat.com/) group chat was started to share ideas and information. What was first a small chat room with a few infectious disease researchers from our laboratories soon grew to include an interdisciplinary team of reproductive biologists, arbovirologists, clinicians, and other specialists from the United States and Brazil. Soon, the diverse collections of voices were unified under a single moniker: the Zika experimental science team (ZEST). Soon we were confronted with a new question: how could we continue to capture the viewpoints of all the ZEST participants as we began studies with Zika virus? We realized the open-source scientific collaboration platform LabKey Server9 enabled us to publish data in real-time, not just to our team but also to anyone else who was interested. So that is what we did (https://goo.gl/rmNCqf). ”

“We were surprised to discover that our results portal attracted a broad audience. Users in 98 countries viewed our data (Figure). Even though our experience is anecdotal, it suggests that there is a global interest in real-time data on emerging infectious disease outbreaks that mirrors the general public’s interest in Zika virus. This need not be limited to laboratory data. Clinical information, epidemiologic data, and behavioral studies could also be made available directly and immediately. Indeed, we have worked with LabKey to create a centralized server (http://zika.labkey.com) where other researchers can share any type of Zika virus data in real-time. Already, investigators from Brazil and the United States are preparing data sets for sharing, and we hope that others follow suit.”

Read the Full Article

Corresponding Author: David H. O’Connor, PhD, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 555 Science Dr, Madison, WI 53711 (doconnor@primate.wisc.edu).

Published Online: March 31, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0857.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Additional Contributions: We thank Project ZEST team members for constructive comments and helpful suggestions on this Viewpoint. The Wisconsin National Primate Research Center base grant P51 5P51OD011106-54 supported our initial laboratory studies with Zika virus, and grant 3R01AI116382-01A1S1 from the National Institutes of Health supports our ongoing Zika virus projects. Mark Igra, BA, initially encouraged us to use LabKey Server to manage data, and Josh Eckels, BS, LabKey, San Diego, California, facilitates our sharing of Zika virus data. LabKey is a subcontractor on an unrelated National Institutes of Health contract and receives compensation for managing the server that initially hosted the Zika virus data. LabKey did not receive any compensation for assisting with the setup and configuration of the Zika virus data, nor did LabKey receive any compensation for setting up and configuring the zika.labkey.com server that is offering to host projects for other investigators.

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