Working around the clock, scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts can run about 2,000 COVID-19 tests per day. In places where testing is still scarce — which is to say much of the world — similar efforts can provide vital relief to public-health systems stretched to their limits. As they shutter their labs indefinitely, tens of thousands of scientists are volunteering to help the pandemic relief efforts in any way they can.
Universities are organizing, researchers are banding together, and efforts to get volunteers and equipment where they are needed most are in progress around the globe. “All of the people who are now suddenly not working have skills that can be applied,” says Michael Monaghan, a molecular ecologist at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin.