In a crisis, responding to a dangerous biological agent means applying sophisticated expertise to immediately treat exposed individuals and contain the outbreak. This means that scientists who might not know each other need to work together, from remote locations, within hours to examine pathogens and agree on recommended actions. A prominent federal agency asked Noblis for contacts, tools, and ideas to that would help them quickly marshal the diverse and dispersed specialized expertise necessary to understand the impact of harmful biological agents.
Noblis professionals were able to contact and mobilize a wide network of professional colleagues from diverse institutions acquired through years of participation in technical exchange, publication, and participation in conferences. Thus Noblis was able to help our client build BioID, a prototype data exchange and collaboration site that allowed scientists from diverse laboratories to work together during emergencies, exchanging biological pathogen data and dialogue rapidly. BioID integrates the expertise of scientists from national laboratories, universities, hospitals, government laboratories, and international health organizations. It is entirely based on open source software, used consensus standards for data exchange and needed to work with the system restrictions and firewalls of the users, user organizations and host organizations. The system draws on the expertise of diverse communities of interest to support critical decision-making rather than creating another government organization with a mission already being addressed in a distributed fashion by existing institutions. An early version of this system helped professionals coordinate and contain the E.Coli outbreak in Germany in 2011.
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