Leading Scientific Institutions Agree To Share Zika Research Data

Leading Scientific Institutions Agree to Share Zika Research Data

Scientists are typically tight-lipped when it comes to their research, but desperate times call for desperate measures. In an effort to battle the ongoing Zika epidemic, a number of global health bodies — including academic journals, charities and institutes — have committed to sharing data on the virus. The statement, signed by over 30 organisations, is meant to ensure that any information relevant to combating Zika is made freely and openly available to the international community as "soon as is feasibly possible". Signatories include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, PLOS, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (along with the Chinese equivalent), the JAMA Network and the US National Institutes of Health. Researchers who signed the agreement were assured that their work would still be eligible for publication in science journals.

"Research is an essential part of the response to any global health emergency," said Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust and a signatory of the statement. "This is particularly true for Zika, where so much is still unknown about the virus, how it is spread and the possible link with microcephaly." It's critical, he said, that results are shared rapidly and in a way that's "equitable, ethical and transparent".

This move follows a recent WHO consultation held in early September 2015 in which leading international stakeholders agreed that the "timely and transparent pre-publication" of scientific data and results "must become the global norm".

Talk about long-overdue. It took the West African Ebola Epidemic to get the global health community on board with this idea.

Here's the complete list of signatories:

Academy of Medical Sciences, UK

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

The British Medical Journal (BMJ)

Bulletin of the World Health Organisation

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India

The Department for International Development (DFID)

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)


Fondation Mérieux

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz)

The Institut Pasteur

Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)

The JAMA Network

The Lancet

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

National Academy of Medicine

National Institutes of Health, USA

National Science Foundation, USA

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)


Science Journals

South African Medical Research Council

Springer Nature

UK Medical Research Council

Wellcome Trust

ZonMw - The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development

[Wellcome Trust]

Image credit: kaibara87/CC BY 2.0

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