Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division

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

Real-time tool for predicting outbreaks wins Open Science Prize

A software tool for tracking viral disease outbreaks developed by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Max Planck Institutes has won the first phase of the first-ever Open Science Prize, an international competition aimed at making both the results and the process of research widely accessible to the public.

Fred Hutch virologist Dr. Trevor Bedford, assistant member of VIDD, and Max Planck physicist and computational biologist Dr. Richard Neher designed a prototype called nextstrain to analyze and track genetic mutations during the Ebola and Zika outbreaks, but they envision it as adaptable for any virus.

“Nextstrain is something like a weather forecast,” Bedford said. “Anybody who’s interested can look at what data exists and what sort of fundamentals we’re seeing with Zika” or other viruses.

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