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NIH Gives U. Georgia $3M to Build Database for Biodefense Pathogens; Genomic Data to Play Role

NEW YORK, Dec. 30 (GenomeWeb News) - The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease has given the University of Georgia $3 million to develop a database of bio-defense-related pathogens, the school said today.

Over the next five years, UGA and the Universityof Pennsylvania will develop a "virtual database" to serve as a "single access point" to genomic and related information about parasites in the phylum Apicomplexa, which includes organisms that cause malaria and toxoplasmosis.
To date, existing apicomplexan databases fail to provide access to information about multiple organisms, "making comparisons difficult," according to a statement issued by UGA. "Simultaneous access to information about multiple pathogens may accelerate development of new vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics."

The UGA/Penn database will link existing databases for Plasmodium species; Toxoplasma gondii; and Cryptosporidum parvum. The UGA team will use a technology called "Web services" to link the multiple databases, according to the statement.

Penn, meantime, is developing the infrastructure and tools to store and analyze all the different data types, the UGA said.

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