Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division

Featured News

Laboratories inside the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division (VIDD), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Open Science Prize goes to software tool for tracking viral outbreaks

Trevor Bedford

“Everyone is doing sequencing, but most people aren’t able to analyze their sequences as well or as quickly as they might want to,” said Dr. Trevor Bedford. “We’re trying to fill in this gap."

Photo by Bo Jungmayer / Fred Hutch News Service

After three rounds of competition — one of which involved a public vote — a software tool developed by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Basel to track Zika, Ebola and other viral disease outbreaks in real time has won the first-ever international Open Science Prize.

Fred Hutch evolutionary biologist Dr. Trevor Bedford, assistant member in VIDD, and physicist and computational biologist Dr. Richard Neher of the Biozentum Center for Molecular Life Studies in Basel, Switzerland, designed a prototype called nextstrain to analyze and track genetic mutations during the Ebola and Zika outbreaks. Using the platform Bedford and Neher built, in a few minutes anyone can download the source code from the public-access, code-sharing site GitHub, run genetic-sequencing data for the outbreak they are following through the pipeline and build a web page showing a phylogenetic tree, or genetic history of the outbreak, Bedford said.

Continue reading >