Via Nature News & Comment, an encouraging report by Declan Butler: Zika researchers release real-time data on viral infection study in monkeys. Excerpt:
Researchers in the United States who have infected monkeys with Zika virus made their first data public last week. But instead of publishing them in a journal, they have released them online for anyone to view — and are updating their results day by day.
The team is posting raw data on the amount of virus detected in the blood, saliva and urine of three Indian rhesus macaques, which they injected with Zika on 15 February. “This is the first time that our group has made data available in real time,” says David O’Connor, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a leader of the project, whose scientists have dubbed themselves ZEST (the Zika experimental-science team). He hopes that releasing the data will help to speed up research into the nature of the virus that has spread across the Americas.
Although a few teams have begun to share genomic data online during disease outbreaks, instant open-data release remains the exception rather than the rule, particularly in clinical research. O’Connor says that he was inspired by researchers during the Ebola epidemic who rapidly published genomic-sequencing data online and encouraged others to re-analyse them. At the time, O'Connor's group downloaded raw data shared by a team led by Pardis Sabeti, a computational geneticist at the Broad Institute and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; it immediately helped to advance their own Ebola research, he says, and led to a collaboration with Sabeti's group.
And thanks to Greg Folkers for sending the link to this editorial in Nature Microbiology, strongly endorsing such data sharing.