Oxford University and Oracle collaborate to detect Covid-19 variants faster
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Oxford University and Oracle collaborate to detect Covid-19 variants faster

Oxford University and Oracle collaborate to detect Covid-19 variants faster

Global research community using genomic sequencing platform, running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, to discover new coronavirus mutations

Divsha Bhat

Oxford University has partnered with Oracle to develop a Global Pathogen Analysis System (GPAS) that allows scientists and decision-makers to identify Covid-19 variants faster.

Built using Oxford’s Scalable Pathogen Pipeline Platform (SP3), Oracle APEX, and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), the GPAS is a cloud platform that provides a unified, standardised system for analysing and comparing the annotated genomic sequence data of Sars-Cov-2. Researchers are using the system to upload pathogen data and receive comprehensive results within minutes. With user permission, the results may be shared with participating laboratories around the globe in a secure environment. Making this data comprehensible and shareable will help public health authorities evaluate and plan their response by giving them invaluable insight into emerging variants even before they are officially designated as variants of concern.

“GPAS is the first industry standards-based service anywhere in the world, offering a standardised sequence data analysis service for users on the cloud,” said Derrick Crook, professor of microbiology in the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine. “Users will be able to access, upload and process their sequence data fully under their sovereign control and receive back fully analysed data in as little as 20 minutes of successful upload. If they select to share data, they will contribute to electronic dashboard visualisations of global data revealing the daily changes in the way the pandemic is progressing and how the virus is changing. This will enable continuous assessment of the pandemic and help guide national and global interventions to curb the impact of the virus.”

“Covid-19 is a global fight, yet researchers have lacked the technical infrastructure to process raw sequences quickly, securely and share those results worldwide,” said Oracle chairman and CTO, Larry Ellison. “With GPAS, we are bringing the power and security of the cloud to enable any researcher, in any location to become part of the solution. The more data that medical institutions, governments, and academics provide, the more quickly we can understand and act to get ahead of the coronavirus.”

Researchers and governments will be able to easily obtain the timely, relevant data they need to make up-to-date scientific analyses and better informed policy and safety choices on novel variants by using the platform. The Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine (Ellison Institute) and the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) for Global Change have collaborated with Oxford and Oracle to support the development of the platform and get it into the hands of global researchers as part of their work with the Global Health Security Consortium (GHSC).

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