The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge to the biomedical research community at the intersection of great uncertainty due to the novelty of the virus and extremely high stakes due to the large global death count. The global quarantine shut-downs complicated scientific matters because many laboratories were closed down unless they were actively doing COVID-19 related research, making repurposing of activities difficult for many biomedical researchers. Biomedical informaticians, who have been primarily able to continue their research through remote work and video conferencing, have been able to maintain normal activities. In addition to continuing ongoing studies, there has been great grass roots interest in helping in the fight against COVID-19. In this commentary, we describe several projects that arose from this desire to help, and the lessons that the authors learned along the way. We then offer some insights into how these lessons might be applied to make scientific progress be more efficient in future crisis scenarios.
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Sosa, D., Bimbin, C., Kaushal, A., Lavertu, A., Lever, J., Rensi, S. & Altman, R. 2021, 'Repurposing biomedical informaticians for COVID-19', Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 115, article no: 103673. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbi.2021.103673