Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Open Science to track virus outbreaks

10.05.2016

In recent years, we have witnessed multiple epidemics of viral diseases such as Ebola or Zika. Rapid targeted intervention is key to containment. Real-time data integration and analysis can help public health authorities to maximize efficacy of intervention strategies. Dr. Richard Neher from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany and Dr. Trevor Bedford from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, USA, won Phase 1 of the Open Science Prize Challenge for their proposal to develop an online platform for real-time evolutionary and epidemiological analysis. The results will be visualized using interactive web applications that make actionable results accessible.

Viral pathogens are a global threat to public health. Influenza causes an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 deaths per year, and recent outbreak of Zika virus believed to be on track to cause tens of thousands of birth defects.


Evolutionary tree of 1654 Ebola virus genomes and a visualization of the geographic spread of the infection

R. Neher/T. Bedford

Public health officials can only develop effective intervention strategies if the epidemiology and evolution of the viral infections is well understood. Genome sequencing provides excellent insight into the evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics of such viruses. To allow better, more targeted interventions, sequencing data from different groups, scientists or hospitals need to be analyzed in a timely fashion to maximize their value for public health.

This can only be achieved by rapid data sharing. Dr. Neher and Dr. Bedford have thus developed a bioinformatics tool that reconstructs a genealogical tree of the viruses by the mutations they randomly accumulate. “The tool pools data between sampling locations and research groups.

A new sequence can be integrated into our output within 24 hours”, explains Neher. The software is already implemented for influenza (www.nextflu.org) and will now be extended to other viruses.

The platform will be publicly available on www.nextstrain.org and the source code released under a General Public License in order to provide software containers that can also be used by other scientists and rapidly adapted to different diseases.

The tool will infer geographical regions that are sources in driving virus circulation, which can help public health officials to target containment effort such as mosquito control. In addition, the tool will enable tracing of transmission chains, which is vital for disease eradication. Additionally, mutations in the virus genome will be analyzed to identify mutations that are suspected to change the virus transmissibility or pathogenicity.

The platform also aims at motivating research groups to share their data rapidly. “I think that outbreak response is an area in which open science and data sharing can make a huge difference. We aim to have a platform that promotes insights from data without treading on the original data producer’s publication priority”, says Bedford.

The Open Science Prize is a partnership between the Wellcome Trust, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to unleash the power of open content and data to advance biomedical research and its application for health benefit.

This first round of the Prize consists of a two-phase competition. For the first phase, international teams competed for funding to take new ideas for products or services to the prototype stage, or to further develop an existing early-stage prototype.

Prizes of $80,000 each were awarded today to successful teams. In the second phase, the phase I prize recipient judged to have the prototype with the greatest potential to advance open science will receive a prize of $230,000.

More information:
http://www.nextstrain.org
https://www.openscienceprize.org/

The web tools for influenza and Ebola will be integrated on nextstrain.org soon:
http://ebola.nextstrain.org
http://www.nextflu.org

Nadja Winter | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>