As scientists around the world race to combat the spread of the Zika virus, dozens of global health bodies — including researchers, academic journals and funding organizations — have committed to sharing data on the virus.
The statement, signed by more than 30 organizations, is meant to ensure that any information relevant to combating Zika is made freely and openly available to the international community as “soon as is feasibly possible.”
Signatories include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, PLOS (Public Library of Science), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (along with the Chinese equivalent), the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Network, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Researchers who signed the agreement were assured that their work would still be eligible for publication in science journals.
Zika, a viral disease carried by mosquitoes, is causing international alarm as an outbreak in Brazil has now spread through much of the Americas.
Signs and symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, rash, headache, conjunctivitis and pain in the joints, muscles, and eyes. It usually results in mild illness, but the virus poses a greater danger to pregnant women and may be linked to a rare neurological condition called microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.