Influenza pandemic: Max-Planck-Institute for Computer Science at Saarbrücken facilitates access to relevant viral sequence data.
To effectively respond to the challenge posed by the new influenza virus, researchers rely on the knowledge of the viral genome sequences of influenza strains. Especially for comparison both, the current pandemic and other strains that are circulating presently or have circulated in the past are important. Within the GISAID Initiative (Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data) the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science (Saarbrücken, Germany) grants public access to a portal that can offer all relevant viral sequence data relating to the current influenza pandemic. The newest influenza outbreak has created a surge of registrations for joining the GISAID community.
The recent influenza pandemic raises concerns about public health throughout the world. Governments of diverse countries currently activate appropriate measures to prevent the influenza from spreading all over the globe. The effectiveness of the response to the challenge posed by the new virus also relies on the knowledge of the viral genome sequences of influenza strains, both for the current pandemic and for other strains that are circulating presently or have circulated in the past. The Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) is the only place that can provide all available relevant viral sequence data.
The initiative has formed an alliance among scientists in all parts of the world who made it their goal to analyze collectively the data available to them. It is important to note that the data are publicly accessible free of charge. Users are requested to register and agree to follow a code of conduct in handling the data that is unique to the GISAID initiative and is at the center of its success.
GISAID’s portal is maintained by The Max Planck Institute for Computer Science in Saarbrücken, Germany. The database holding the viral sequence data is maintained by the Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics (Geneva, Lausanne). Furthermore there is a software module for tracking viral samples provided by Kisters AG (Aachen, Germany).
The recent influenza outbreak has created a surge of registrations for joining the GISAID community whose membership has quickly mushroomed to far over one thousand members. Registrations are being processed promptly. The GISAID platform also provides tools for communicating and discussing scientific findings that stem from the analysis of the data. We expect that the services on the GISAID platform will be a substantial component to accelerate the research on influenza, which is ever so vital for human and animal health.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Lengauer
Max-Planck-Institut for Computer Science
Tel. +49 681 9325-300
Kristina Scherbaum Max-Planck-Institut for Computer Science Saarbrücken, Germany Public Relations firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. +49 681 9325-454