In the course of this tough battle for epidemic prevention and control, the information such as virus strains and electron microscope photos collected one day before the Spring Festival in 2020 from a clinical patient in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, soon attracted the attention of the media, and those who have applied for the use of the relevant information include many well-known British and American media.
The information came from the COVID-19 national science and technology resources service system, which was launched on the same day. "The system is characterized by combining the advantages of physical resources with information technology capabilities to strengthen the openness of the research results at home," on February 21, 2020, Dr. MA Juncai, director of China National Microbiology Data Center, told China Science Daily.
According to reports, at present, the system has added a number of parts for the original virus resources and information. MA said that they will add modules of data analysis and data mining functions to the system to help the epidemic prevention.
The integration of advantages makes "1+1>2"
On the eve of the Spring Festival of 2020, MA Juncai and WEI Qiang, professor from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, had a "brainstorming" in a conference room at the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS). They discussed how to integrate the advantages of both sides to develop a platform for supporting the research on COVID-19.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the two have been pondering over and discussing how to better serve the fight against the virus. Shortly after the discussion in the daytime, on January 24, China national science and technology resources service system for the COVID-19 was launched.
On the same day, three hours after the opening of the service system, CNN in the United States reported the virus strains information and electron microscope images of the COVID-19. The next day, Britain's Reuters hoped to access to the electron microscope photos. Subsequently, CCTV News reported that the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention released the information on the virus strains through the service system.
"Through this platform, we can learn the research progress and results and data of Chinese scientists on virus strains, which shows the openness of the research results in China," MA added.
It is understood that from January 24 to February 4, the visits to the COVID-19 service system reached 6.257 million within ten days.
Moreover, in addition to the release of virus strain resources and scientific data related to COVID-19, the system also integrates comprehensive information of virus detection methods, genomes and scientific literature, etc., and provides specialized service for the prevention and control of the COVID-19.
Sharing genomes to help fight against the COVID-19
Being confronted with the disastrous virus, sharing the genome data has become the appeal of scientists around the world. This time, the National Microbiology Data Center, chaired by IMCAS, is making efforts.
On February 18, the center released the "Global COVID-19 Omics Data Sharing and Analysis System" (http://nmdc.cn/#/coronavirus). Up till now, the database has integrated 3,135 global COVID-19 genomes and 32,865 nucleic acid sequences, including the COVID-19 genome data, from 20,241 strains, isolated from 496 different host types and 568 collection sites.
"The sequence information of these viruses covers those that infect and those that do not. We hope to meet the different research needs of scientists as much as possible," MA said. For example, the ultra high resolution crystal structure of the 2019 COVID-19 protein (S) receptor binding domain (RBD) and the human receptor ACE2 complex released by the researcher QI Jianxun at IMCAS through the data platform of the National Microbiology Data Center has revealed for the first time the interaction between the protein S and the receptor ACE2 at the atomic level, which is of great significance for the research and development of vaccines and antibodies and also has a crucial role in the research and development of serological diagnostic reagents based on S protein.
According to the introduction, the system has realized the analysis and mining process of global viromics data integration and standardization through the integration of COVID-19 gene and whole genome data, as well as the integration of similarity contrast, system evolution analysis and other tools, which is helpful for scientists to quickly carry out the research of virus variation, traceability, evolution, etc., and promotes the collection, comprehensive analysis and sharing of COVID-19 data at home and abroad.
At present, the genome sequence information in the global COVID-19 omics data sharing and analysis system can also be found in the COVID-19 service system. "Next, we will gather more data and further increase the analysis and mining functions of data," MA said, "We will cooperate with scientists on some programs that can apply with these data."