On Wednesday, April 15, at 3 p.m. EDT, Discover and SciStarter will host a livestreamed event on Zoom and Facebook to introduce you to three scientists leading COVID-19 citizen science projects that need your help. The event is part of Citizen Science Month.
In the discussion, you’ll learn how to identify behaviors that influence risk; crowdsource the COVID-19 pandemic in real time; and play an online game to fold and design proteins for scientific research.
Anna Funk, associate editor of Discover magazine, will moderate the discussion. We’ll provide step-by-step guides so we can get involved in real time, online, together. You can create your SciStarter account (free) and get familiar with the three COVID-19 projects before the event by visiting SciStarter.org/COVID-19. You’ll also find the event live at Discover’s Facebook page, facebook.com/DiscoverMag.
Here are the projects that scientists will discuss:
COVID-19 Citizen Science
Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, hope to enroll 1 million people in “real-time epidemiology” research. This program, called COVID-19 Citizen Science (CCS), starts with an initial 15-minute survey about a volunteer’s health and daily habits. The program will follow up with subsequent questions throughout the study, which will be sent via an app or text message.
Volunteers can even offer up their GPS location and, eventually, highly detailed information like blood pressure, weight, blood oxygen levels, body temperature, exercise and sleep. That information would come through wearable devices like Fitbits.
By tracking a huge number of people over time, the researchers hope to identify factors that change the risk of infection and what happens afterward. The more people get involved, the more statistically significant the results will be.
COVID Near You
Health officials can’t fight the coronavirus pandemic without knowing where infections are.
Now, researchers have created a way to track people with COVID-19 symptoms, even if they still can’t easily test and diagnose who actually has the disease.
The effort is called COVID Near You. Anyone in the U.S. can use the initiative’s website to self-report their location and how they’re feeling. The researchers work with national and local officials to monitor potential hot spots.
Fight COVID-19 with FoldIt
You wash your hands thoroughly and stifle your natural hugging urge, but what else can you do to battle COVID-19? Join the FoldIt project!
There, you will play a free online game in which the goal is to design an antiviral protein that targets the dangerous virus.