The institute said the new platorm will enable the rapid sharing of Swiss sequences with international partners and thus help accelerate research into vaccines and treatments. © Keystone / Christian Beutler
The Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) has launched a centralised platform to collect genetic sequences of the new coronavirus in Switzerland to ensure better monitoring of variants and boost international research efforts.
This content was published on October 14, 2021 - 14:40 October 14, 2021 - 14:40 Keystone-SDA/sb
Suiza lanza plataforma para rastrear variantes de COVID
The Swiss Pathogen Surveillance Platform (SPSP) will provide the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) with“an automated overview of the distribution and emergence of variants throughout the country”, the SIB said in a statementExternal link on Wednesday.
This will enable the rapid sharing of Swiss sequences with international partners and thus help accelerate research into vaccines and treatments, the institute said.
“The sequences come from almost all of the Swiss cantons. This is excellent news, because it means that new variants are unlikely to go under the radar,” said Aitana Lebrand, who is in charge of the new platform.
Single entry point
In August 2021 more than 5,600 sequencesExternal link were being analysed by more than ten academic or private laboratories in Switzerland. But a centralised standard system is necessary to properly register and coordinate SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences.
“Thanks to the surveillance platform developed by the SIB, we can access a centralised and standardised database through a single entry point, rather than receiving reports from each laboratory in different formats,” said Mirjam Mäusezahl, co-director of the epidemiology section at the FOPH.
Funded by the Swiss authorities, the SPSP platform also sends fully anonymised viral sequences to open science platforms, such as the European Covid-19 portalExternal link , to boost international research. Switzerland is currently ranked fourthExternal link in terms of the number of SARS-CoV-2 sequences it has shared, after the UK, the US and Germany.
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