During public health emergencies like COVID-19, science — and the process of turning observations into new therapies — must be translated faster than ever. Vast amounts of clinical data are being generated that could be used to advance research efforts focused on COVID-19. These datasets often become too large to share and the networks for data management are so dissimilar that they cannot be combined easily, creating roadblocks along the path to developing new treatments. With no standardized way to collect and harmonize all this data being generated, there is an urgent need for a COVID-19 analytics platform that can turn all this data into new knowledge that can speed research efforts across the country. Making data more meaningful, open and accessible is a key goal in NCATS’ efforts to improve translational science and advance research across many diseases.
An effort called the National COVID Cohort Collaborative, or N3C, is building a centralized national data resource — the NCATS N3C Data Enclave — that the research community can use to study COVID-19 and identify potential treatments as the pandemic continues to evolve. Specifically, the N3C will enable the rapid collection and analysis of clinical, laboratory and diagnostic data from hospitals and health care plans. If successful, this approach will be applicable to other research questions and may serve as a model for addressing future public health emergencies.
The N3C is a partnership among the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)-supported Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program hubs, the National Center for Data to Health (CD2H) and NIGMS-supported Institutional Development Award Networks for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR). This initiative has overall stewardship by NCATS. Collaborators will contribute and use COVID-19 clinical data to answer critical research questions to address this pandemic.
The Alliance, as an IDeA-CTR, is applying to be a participating entity in this exciting initiative. The process of each of our partner institution’s signing the NCATS N3C Data Enclave Institutional Data Use Agreement. Our entering into this agreement will enable our contribution of electronic health record (EHR) data, such as through the Hispanic Collaborative Clinical Research Data Warehouse (HC2RDW) to the Data Enclave. Additionally, this will enable investigators at any Alliance institution to request access to Enclave Data.
The Alliance will be announcing additional information about the N3C Data Enclave and access to this resource in the coming months. We are most excited about participating in this important initiative and the opportunity it represents to clinical investigators in the development of COVID-19 related research.