While most of us have been canceling plans and fighting off cabin fever, one subset of people has been busier than ever: The researchers and scientists tasked with the Herculean challenge of finding a cure for the apocalypse. Since the novel coronavirus first emerged in December 2019, researchers have already conducted 29,000 studies related to the virus (known to the scientific community as SARS-CoV-2).
The studies, which include peer-reviewed journal publications and preprint papers, have been compiled in the new COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), a product of collaboration between the National Institutes of Health, Microsoft, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, among others. The database, which launched Monday, contains a wealth of information on SARS-CoV-2 and the coronavirus group. But more critically, it uses state-of-the-art technology to search and curate the thousands of studies, employing natural-language-processing algorithms that make it easier to surface insights from a massive body of literature.
Easier means faster—and for researchers racing to develop vaccines as the coronavirus death toll mounts, time is of the essence.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which commissioned the database, has also issued an open call for artificial intelligence experts to create new machine learning techniques for text and data mining, hoping to further speed up processes for COVID-19 scientists.
The CORD-19 database will continue to update as more coronavirus scholarship is published. Here’s hoping it’s fruitful for all of our sakes!