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Push for Access

Researchers in India are asking for the government to make it easier for them to access COVID-19 data, according to Science.

India is currently experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, with more than 380,000 new cases reported yesterday, according to Johns Hopkins' Coronavirus Resource Center. In a letter, the researchers in India call for better access to data that has collected on the pandemic there. For instance, they seek access to granular testing data the Indian Council of Medical Research has collected as well as clinical data that could enable better analyses and predictions. They further seek increased genomic surveillance and release of that data, and the easing of policies to more quickly import scientific equipment to ramp up testing and sequencing.

Science adds that K. VijayRaghavan, the principal scientific advisor to the Indian government, issued a note acknowledging these concerns, though some researchers say the response isn't enough. "The note only says that government agencies will facilitate data access," Partha Pratim Majumder, a genetic epidemiologist at the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, tells Science. "The question is: when? Time is of the essence."