Like many of you, the researchers behind BashTheBug have been at home for a while now due to restrictions put in place to slow the progress of this COVID-19 epidemic.
There are not very many infectious disease Citizen Science projects and naturally we’ve given a lot of thought as to how we might help, but have come to the conclusion that (i) there is no compelling way a Zooniverse project could help with the epidemic, at the present time at least, and (ii) the work you all helping us fight tuberculosis by improving genetics-based diagnosis is hugely important.
Let’s put it into context: the World Health Organisation estimated that around 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis in 2018 and around 1.5 million died. At the time of writing, whilst no-one knows how many people will ultimately die as a result of being infected by this new virus, the current number was still more than 10x fewer than the number that will likely die of tuberculosis, which is treatable, during this year.
So please keep classifying and if we do find a way to help, we’ll let you all know.