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Why Open Source Is Seeing Higher Adoption During COVID-19 Crisis

Open SOurce COVID-19

There are many open source datasets and software tools to fight COVID-19.

Open source software and collaboration have brought on multiple instances of innovation in the last decade. As we are in the middle of a global health crisis, the significance of the open-source software ecosystem is more critical than ever.


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Such open-source datasets can be utilised and linked together to make it easily accessible to the public for different innovative applications. Open-source data is being extensively used to create models, and epidemiological analysis to inform people, help researchers and policymakers regarding COVID-19.

When it comes to data analytics and visualisation, most of the tools are open-source as well, indicating collaboration between certain people and teams to tackle COVID-19

Open source datasets, such as the one maintained by The John Hopkins are going to have a significant impact. Researchers are already good at prediction/inference scenarios and estimating the effects of medical interventions. 

Building Cheap Ventilators Through Open Source Collaboration

A large number of specialists, business people and volunteers globally are building an alternate potential arrangement: making open-source ventilators. With access to simple designs, innovators in places like India, Africa or South America could assemble ventilators quickly and efficiently utilise hardware that is accessible as well as open software systems. 

Some of the most fundamental open-source ventilator models have been found to be taking place through social media channels, and open-source platforms like GitHub. This has sorted out the cost challenges and developed a response strategy to the crisis.

Health-Tech Innovation Coming Out Of Open Source To Fight COVID 19

Here is one example of open-source innovation that deals with an epidemic crisis like COVID-19. The Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System, or SORMAS, is an open-source mobile and web application that empowers healthcare workers to inform hospitals about new instances of infectious diseases, as well as identify potential epidemic outbreaks and control responses. The software was developed for African nations during the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak and is based on interoperable, open-source programming, intended to meet the data and executive needs of national health systems in Africa. 

Another famous innovation is the Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources (EIOS) project. It is a unique cooperation between different general healthcare partners over the world. It unites new and existing open-source activities, systems and frameworks. It covers early recognition, check and evaluation of general health dangers.

Next, we can take a look at Nextstrain, which is also an open-source project for following and analysing viral genomes using a dashboard of the genomic epidemiology of COVID-19. The dashboard displays the evolutionary relations of the mutations of the virus, which can serve to determine the origins of the pandemic. Nextstrain’s COVID-19 dashboard sources its data from GISAID. 

The COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics (CHIME) is another open-source tool that gives real-time projections of what extra resources will be needed in specific hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. CHIME is developed with Python and utilises the Pandas open-source framework for data analysis for its predictions using Python libraries. 


This represents the collaboration needed during a crisis. According to experts, the trend is likely to rise with the fight against COVID-19 slated to continue. Innovative tools against pandemics will come through with the help of open-source, free software, open AIs and public Github repositories. 

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Vishal Chawla
Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.

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