Blockchain-facilitated sharing to advance outbreak R&D

Mark B. van der Waal, Carolina Dos S Ribeiro, Moses Ma, George B. Haringhuizen, Eric Claassen, Linda H.M. van de Burgwal

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

137 Downloads (Pure)


Timely and widespread dissemination of resources and information related to pathogenic threats plays a critical role in outbreak recognition, research, containment, and mitigation, as stakeholders from government, public health (PH), industry, and academia seek to implement interventions and develop vaccines, diagnostics, and drugs. But there are persistent barriers to sharing and cooperative research and development (R&D) in the context of epidemics, rooted in a lack of trust in confidentiality and reciprocity, ambiguity over resource ownership, and conflicting public, private, and academic incentives. Here, we suggest how recent advances in blockchain and related technologies can enable decentralized mechanisms to help break down these systemic and largely nontechnological barriers. These mechanisms resolve scalability, energy consumption, and security concerns of early blockchain models and may be applied to underpin and interconnect, rather than supersede or conflict with existing, well-established systems and practices for storing, sharing, and governing resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-721
Number of pages3
Issue number6492
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2020


  • Blockchain
  • Infectious diseases
  • Outbreak response
  • Data sharing
  • Research collaboration
  • Research policy
  • COVID-19
  • pandemic
  • epidemic
  • Outbreak management
  • Decentralized identity
  • Decentralized identifiers
  • Verifiable credentials
  • Smart contracts
  • Distributed ledger technology

VU Research Profile

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Connected World


Dive into the research topics of 'Blockchain-facilitated sharing to advance outbreak R&D'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this