Citizen science resources related to the COVID19 pandemic
The term "citizen science" is used to define the involvement and active and conscious participation of people of different ages, education and social backgrounds in scientific research activities: students, simple enthusiasts, retired people and amateur scientists, not included in academic structures.
In other words, everyone is invited to contribute. No specific skills are needed, just time and interest and this, if you wish, is the time to contribute to research on the new Coronavirus pandemic.
Feeling powerless against the coronavirus?
That's how, with these Citizen Science projects, you can contribute to research from home.
If you try to create an antiviral protein that neutralizes SARS-Cov2, the right project for you comes from the Foldit team. The project is an online game that challenges players to bend proteins to better understand their structure and function. There is currently a specific game where citizens challenge each other to design antiviral proteins that can bind to the new Coronavirus.
The projects with the highest score are produced and tested, on the homepage of Foldit in these days are coming out numerous updates that will make you participate in all the progress even in the laboratory.
Another similar project is Folding @ home. In this case, however, it is "only" a distributed computing project. You don't have to put your creativity at the service of the community, but the processing power of your computer to perform calculations in the background. Your computer is then hired to help with the calculations.
Monitoring people with symptoms is very important to track the spread of the epidemic. A useful program for this purpose is PatientsLikeMe, where patients who wish to do so and have tested positive for a disease share their experiences and treatment regimes with others who have similar health problems.
It is not a specific platform of course for SARS-Cov2 infection, although a community has recently been created for people who have contracted Covid19 and have recovered. All these patients are contributing to a set of data that could prove useful in the fight against the virus because the analysis of this information allows researchers to test potential treatments more quickly.
If you are interested in the more social part of the pandemic, you can collaborate with Operation Covid19 a database that integrates official data to the collection of self-managed questionnaires useful to trace more cases of Covid19 even among those who could not be tested. There is also a Facebook group connected to Operation Covid19.
And if, finally, you are one of the scientists involved at the forefront of research, you might be interested in COVIDbase, a list, always "work in Progress" of projects, news and data related to Covid19.
The aim of COVIDbase is to connect people who have expertise to relevant projects and inspire new ideas so that all projects can be consulted in the same place, in order to save energy and not repeat roads already travelled by others. The curators of the project themselves argue that although many projects are not open, such as pharmaceutical or government projects, sharing is crucial if we want to win quickly.
Another collection of projects is COVID-19 Social Science Research Tracker, an international list that tracks new research on Covid19, including published results, pre-prints, ongoing projects and projects in the proposal phase.
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