Article: Open Science Prize goes to software tool for tracking viral outbreaks

Cures, Drugs, Open Health, Procedures (Medical)

Open Science Prize goes to software tool for tracking viral outbreaks

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 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, 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, in a few minutes, Bedford said.

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