The Swedish COVID-19 Data Portal two year anniversary
A lot has happened since spring 2020.
Soon after COVID-19 pandemic began, The European Commission took the initiative to begin the development of a European data sharing platform for COVID-19 research efforts. The European COVID-19 Data Portal, which is operated by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory - European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), is part of this platform and was launched in April 2020. The Swedish Research Council quickly assigned SciLifeLab Data Centre (and their partners) to build and operate the Swedish COVID-19 Data Potal. Our portal was officially launched on 3rd June 2020, becoming the first national COVID-19 Data Portal.
The Swedish COVID-19 Data Portal provides guidance, tools, and services that enable researchers to find and share COVID-19 data (as well as associated code). Since the launch two years ago, the portal has had >70,000 visitors and >230,000 pageviews. The team behind the portal also provides individual support to many research projects.
The COVID-19 pandemic is moving into a more endemic phase in Sweden, as well as many other parts of the world. The rapid roll-out of vaccines and the development of multiple effective treatments have been crucial for reopening society. Nevertheless, SARS-CoV-2 still poses a global health threat. Continued efforts to monitor outbreaks and closely examine potential SARS CoV-2 variants are thus warranted. Research efforts aimed at developing novel treatments for SARS-CoV-2, as well as other potential emerging pathogens are also essential for ensuring future pandemic preparedness.
The importance of preparing for future pandemics cannot be understated. To reflect this, the scope of our portal is changing. As of 2022, this portal become part of the SciLifeLab Pandemic Laboratory Preparedness efforts, which is based on an assignment by the Swedish government. The name of the portal will become ‘The COVID-19 and Pandemic Preparedness Portal’. The open sharing of data and code, data reuse, and the establishment of research collaborations will remain central to our efforts.
“The team behind the portal is happy about the continued positive response to our work. Just as the pandemic has entered a more endemic phase, the portal has broadened its scope to pandemic preparedness. The portal website comprises a number of services launched over the last years, and more services are planned.” says Katarina Öjefors Stark, member of the portal team.
The portal is involved with several international collaborations e.g. with EMBL-EBI. The SciLifeLab Data Centre, which operates the portal, is also a partner in a large European project BeYond-COVID (BY-COVID). BY-COVID has received €12 million of funding by Horizon Europe. It is also part of the European Commission’s HERA Incubator plan “Anticipating together the threat of COVID-19 variants”, which is led by ELIXIR. BY-COVID is an interdisciplinary project and includes European-based experts from multiple disciplines, including life science, medicine, social science, policy making, and public health.
We look forward to continuing to develop the The COVID-19 and Pandemic Preparedness Portal so that it is the best it can be for users. As always, we welcome input from the community, so please feel free to get in touch!