Influenza pathogen database of global significance set up in Bonn

On 15 April 2010, Dr. Robert Kloos, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, and Peter Bogner, President of The GISAID Foundation, signed a cooperative agreement on the establishment of an important influenza database at the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food in Bonn.

The database was developed as the result of an initiative by scientists from throughout the world. The aim of the "Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data" (GISAID foundation) is to have a free worldwide exchange of genetic and epidemiological data on known and newly discovered influenza viruses. It will make information on influenza viruses available worldwide to researchers from a range of disciplines.

Influenza researchers joined together in 2006 to form the so-called GISAID Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to analyse available data on influenza pathogens jointly and in close cooperation. The GISAID Foundation, with its headquarters in USA, was set up to coordinate this initiative. Scientists feed data on influenza pathogens into the database on a voluntary basis. An international scientific advisory board ensure that the database meets scientific standards.

Currently, there are scientists from more than 180 countries involved in this database. One benefit of having the database is that it enables influenza vaccinations to be developed more quickly, for both mankind and animals. It is therefore of equally great importance for both veterinary medicine and human medicine. Work on developing and running the database began in August 2009 at the Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik in Saarbrücken. Once the basic development work is completed, the database will be installed permanently at the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food in Bonn. The Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik will continue to contribute to the ongoing development of the database. The operating costs for 2011 and 2012 will be borne by the BMELV. The Friedrich Loeffler Institute (Federal Research Institute for Animal Health) will be responsible for ensuring adequate data quality.

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© Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture