GISAID, WHO Host Bioinformatics Workshop in Belfast Sept. 2022

A three-day bioinformatics training workshop held by GISAID and the WHO Global Influenza Programme (GIP) in September 2022 in Belfast, United Kingdom was attended by researchers globally from diverse organisations.

On the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of GISRS, the GISAID initiative, in collaboration with GIP, held a three-day bioinformatics workshop from 27-29th September 2022 at Queen’s University Belfast, during the ‘Options XI for the Control of Influenza’ congress. GISAID is a global science initiative established in 2008 that has provided access to genomic data of influenza viruses,and since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become the world’s largest repository for SARS-CoV-2 strain sequences. The course offered both in-person and virtual session options for 2.5 hours per day. The training was attended by 87 specialists from a total of 40 countries. Participants were from National Influenza Centres (NICs), academia, public health, industry, and government institutions. The course ran successfully, covering both standard and advanced features and functionalities of GISAID. It provided training on sequence sharing, data curation and data retrieval from the EpiFlu, EpiCoV, EpiRSV and EpiPox databases. It also provided instruction on the use of their integrated analysis tools for phylogenetics and phylodynamics, including visualisations for real-time variant tracking and their geographical distribution, mutational mapping with functional annotation and contact tracing.

Increased and improved genomic surveillance and data sharing to GISAID is important for WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System–plus (GISRS+), which continues to expand integration of SARS-CoV-2 and RSV detection and characterisation into influenza sentinel surveillance systems by NICs globally.

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