VIROGENESIS plans to develop new mathematical, statistical and computational methods to address major bioinformatics bottlenecks in the analyses of new, diverse and complex virome data resulting from NGS technologies.

To date, only a proportion of the millions of short-length sequence fragments generated from metagenomes by NGS platforms is currently used for virus discovery, due to the lack of sensitive methods and tools that can accurately classify and assemble known and unknown viruses. Even for well-known pathogenic viruses, appropriate methods that can handle and characterize large and incomplete of sequence datasets are lacking. A major limiting factor for the epidemiological analyses of NGS data in near real time is the fact that current state-of-the-art methods in bioinformatics are too slow. Analysing virome data. i.e. all viruses that currently infect an individual, further amplifies the challenge.

Therefore, VIROGENESIS will accelerate the translation of NGS analysis results for virus discovery, epidemiological tracing and clinical diagnostics, in order to meet future challenges. For example, the tools we develop will impact research aimed at discovery of (hitherto unknown) potential aetiological infectious agents or co-agents of various diseases, and also impact the daily research practice of public health researchers who are interested in the past and projected spread of particular viruses. VIROGENESIS will increase research and innovation opportunities in this SME-intensive field. VIROGENESIS will ensure a widespread dissemination of the new bioinformatics methods to maximize the accessibility and utility of biomedical data in research and medicine.

In order to reach these goals, objectives and activities of VIROGENESIS are:

  1. The development of novel bioinformatics tools which rapidly discover, recover and annotate potential viral reads from metagenomic next generation sequencing (NGS) data.
  2. The development of novel bioinformatics methods and tools that swiftly trace epidemics in near real time from large sets of fully- and partially assembled NGS virus data.
  3. The development of user-friendly visualisation approaches, that enable dynamic and interactive visualisation of the outbreak of epidemics in near real time.
  4. The promotion of the use of VIROGENESIS applications in the different NGS pipelines in basic research, clinical research and public health research in Europe.