The emergence of more infectious variants of the COVID-19 virus is threatening to slow the global recovery and potentially thwart current vaccine immunity. To help governments and medical communities identify and act on these variants faster, Oxford University and Oracle have created a Global Pathogen Analysis System combining Oxford’s Scalable Pathogen Pipeline Platform (SP3) with the power of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The partnership will enable global genomic sequencing and examination through a specialist platform developed on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to help mitigate the impact of potentially dangerous COVID-19 variants.
- A enhanced health consortium: This initiative builds on the work of a Wellcome Trust-funded consortium including Public Health Wales, the University of Cardiff, and Public Health England. “This powerful new tool will enable public health scientists in research establishments, public health agencies, healthcare services, and diagnostic companies around the world to help further understanding infectious diseases, starting with the coronavirus,” said Derrick Crook, Professor of Microbiology in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford.
- Highly processed capability: SP3’s processing capability has been enhanced with extensive new development work from Oracle, enabling high performance and security plus 7 by 24 worldwide availability of the SP3 system in the Oracle Cloud. The SP3 system will now deliver comprehensive and standardized results of COVID-19 analyses within minutes of submission on an international scale. The results will be shared with countries around the globe in a secure environment.
- Globalized standard: Larry Ellison, Oracle Chairman, and CTO said: “There is a critical need for global cooperation on genomic sequencing and examination of COVID-19 and other pathogens. The enhanced SP3 system will establish a global standard for pathogen data gathering and analysis, thus enabling medical researchers to better understand the COVID-19 virus and other microbial threats to public health.”
- Power of cloud computing in Healthcare: Coupled with machine learning capabilities in Oracle Cloud, collaborating scientists, researchers, and governments worldwide can process, analyze, visualize, and act on a wide collection of COVID-19 pathogen data. This includes identifying variants of interest and their potential impact on vaccine and treatment effectiveness.
- New variant assessment platform: The news of the Oxford-Oracle GPAS comes shortly after WHO and Germany announced the launch of the “WHO Hub”, an epidemic and pandemic intelligence hub that will use data and analytics to predict and prevent the risks of future pandemics and epidemics worldwide. In January, UK health secretary Matt Hancock announced the launch of the New Variant Assessment Platform, a scheme that enables scientists across the globe access to the UK’s genomics labs to sequence the full genetic code of COVID-19.