Epidemics under control
A free service for monitoring epidemics is presented
Denis Strigun, Naked Science
An international group of scientists has developed a free online platform for visualizing and monitoring the results of scientific research in the field of epidemiology. Details of the project are presented in the journal Microbial Genomics (Argimón et al., Microreact: visualizing and sharing data for genomic epidemiology and phylogeography).
Usually, the results of observations of the current epidemiological situation in various regions are stored in special databases, access to which is limited. Scientists themselves, for example from other countries, often cannot get acquainted with them. In turn, open information is published in scientific journals, but the waiting time for publication (the period between submission and publication of the article) in this case can be up to two years. Thus, there was no way to get up-to-date information about the spread of diseases until now.
To fill the gap, scientists from Imperial College London and other institutions have developed a free Microreact web service. It is a cloud system built on the principle of global data exchange. With the help of the platform, scientists can put colored labels on the world map corresponding, for example, to various strains of the virus that were recorded in the region in a given year. The details of the studies, including the description of the strains, can be placed in the lower panel.
Using the slider, users can trace the history of the spread of a disease or entire organisms. Currently, the site contains metadata about Streptococcus pneumoniae, Salmonella (Salmonella typhi), Vibrio cholerae, and human Y-chromosomal haplogroups. Adding new data to the site is done by dragging files (in CSV, TSV, NWK and NEWICK formats) into the browser window. It is expected that the service will solve the problem of sharing the latest scientific discoveries.
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