Free Database To Help Coronavirus Research
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Free Database To Help Coronavirus Research By CRG Scientists 

A new database has been launched by the researchers from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) to advance the international research efforts studying the novel coronavirus.

Researchers around the globe can use the publicly available, free-to-use database ( to study how different variations of the virus grow, make proteins and mutate.

Scientists are working day and night to understand the SARS-CoV-2 behind the deadly disease so that a way to beat the virus can be found. Eva Novoa, a researcher at the CRG in Barcelona said a huge amount of scientific data is being published around the world.

But the results from studies that used the new technologies like the nanopore RNA sequencing are not comparable to results from other papers due to the patchwork of different methodologies and standards used. Scientists are analyzing all this data to bring into a universally comparable standard. The database would help the researchers spot the weaknesses of coronavirus more accurately and quickly.

Scientists have to sequence the RNA of COVID-19 to understand how the virus grows, replicates and mutates. Crucial information about the viral proteins that helps them to invade cells and replicate can

be revealed through RNA sequencing. Thereby the government can get more information on the severity and infectiousness of the pandemic.

Thanks to the nanopore sequencing technologies that enabled sequencing data in real-time which revolutionized disease outbreak monitoring and genomics research. The DNA and RNA sequence information of any living cell in real-time can be immediately accessed by clinicians and scientists through the nanopore sequencing.

But scientists lacked systematic guidelines for the analysis of the highly complex data produced by nanopore, limiting the vast potential of the new technology.

Free database to help coronavirus research

Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona used a computer program called MasterOfPores, developed by the group of Eva Novoa and CRG Bioinformatics Unit to standardize the analysis of publicly available SARS-CoV-2 nanopore sequencing data. Frontiers in Genetics had described about the software last week.

Julia Ponomarenko, Head of the Bioinformatics Unit at the CRG said, the internet and an increasing culture of open science, reprints and data sharing have transformed the research landscape. The novel scientific computing approaches allow us to set up the infrastructure required to research an emerging virus in just a few days.

MasterOfPores can be run on cloud, cluster or any Unix-compatible OS on a computer. The software is easily available in Github and does not require installing any additional software or dependencies. The free-to-use, publicly available database developed to help coronavirus research has analyzed 3TB of SARS-CoV-2 nanopore RNA sequencing data. New data will be updated by the CRG researchers as soon as it becomes available.


Author: Sruthi S