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May 17, 2021

Oxford University and Oracle Partner to Speed Identification of COVID-19 Variants


The partnership will enable global genomic sequencing and examination through a specialist platform developed on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to help mitigate the impact of potentially dangerous COVID-19 variants.

Oxford University and Oracle

Oxford University and Oracle

Photo: Oracle Cloud Manages COVID-19 Vaccination Program in the United States. Image provided by & copyright © ORACLE.



OXFORD, England and AUSTIN, Texas, May 16, 2021 — The emergence of more infectious variants of the COVID-19 virus is threatening to slow the global recovery and potentially thwart current vaccine immunity. To help governments and medical communities identify and act on these variants faster, Oxford University and Oracle have created a Global Pathogen Analysis System (GPAS) combining Oxford’s Scalable Pathogen Pipeline Platform (SP3) with the power of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). This initiative builds on a Wellcome Trust-funded consortium including Public Health Wales, the University of Cardiff, and Public Health England.

“This powerful new tool will assist public health scientists in research establishments, public health agencies, healthcare services, and diagnostic companies around the world. It would help them in further understanding of infectious diseases, starting with the coronavirus,” said Derrick Crook, Professor of Microbiology in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford.

“The Global Pathogen Analysis System will help to establish a global common standard for assembling and analyzing this new virus, as well as other microbial threats to public health. It adds a new dimension to our ability to process pathogen data. We are excited to partner with Oracle to further our research using this cutting-edge technology platform,” added Crook.

First used for tuberculosis, SP3 has been repurposed to unify, standardize, analyze, and compare sequence data of SARS-CoV-2, yielding annotated genomic sequences and identifying new variants and those of concern. SP3’s processing capability has been enhanced with extensive new development work from Oracle, enabling high performance and security plus 7/24 worldwide availability of the SP3 system in the Oracle Cloud. The SP3 system will now deliver comprehensive and standardized COVID-19 analyses within minutes of submission on an international scale. GPAS would share the results with countries around the globe in a secure environment.

“The opportunity of applying systematic examination for genetic variants in a range of pathogens will have major benefits for global public health. This program, with Oracle as a partner, takes us a step closer to this goal,” said Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Coupled with the extensive machine learning capabilities in the Oracle Cloud, collaborating scientists, researchers, and governments worldwide can process, analyze, visualize, and act on a vast collection of COVID-19 pathogen data for the first time. It includes identifying variants of interest and their potential impact on vaccine and treatment effectiveness. For example, analytics dashboards in the system will show which specific strains spread more quickly than others and whether genetic features contribute to increased transmissibility and vaccine escape. Already, Oxford has processed half the world’s SARS-CoV-2 sequences, more than 500,000 in total.

“There is a critical need for global cooperation on genomic sequencing and examination of COVID-19 and other pathogens,” said Oracle Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison. “The enhanced SP3 system will establish a global standard for pathogen data gathering and analysis, thus enabling medical researchers to understand better the COVID-19 virus and other microbial threats to public health.”

The next step will be to extend this service to all pathogens while simultaneously collaborating with scientists from research establishments, public health agencies, and private companies to ensure this work can support decision-making on pandemic response strategies worldwide.

The platform will be free for researchers and non-profits to use worldwide.

Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Its work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a vast network of partnerships and collaborations. Its research’s breadth and interdisciplinary nature sparks creative and inventive insights and solutions.

Sources: Oracle & Oxford University

|GlobalGiants.Com|


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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:59 AM | Link to this Post






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