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Online Arbovirus Archive Upgrades Output, Plans to Add Genome Sequences

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PARIS, France--Access to the first internet-based collection of arthropod-borne virus--arbovirus--data will soon be upgraded, and available genomic sequence data will be added by 1999, François Adam of the French Institute of Scientific Research for Develop ment in Cooperation (known as Ortsom) here, told BioInform.

Arboviruses, transmitted to humans by arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks, are the agents of diseases including yellow fever, dengue fever, Congo hemorrhagic fever, and Rift fever, which infect millions of people each year, mainly in tropical countries. But, said Adam, in an era of easy and frequent moves, the emergence of new viral diseases is a major health problem worldwide.

Adam, a coauthor of the site with Jean-Pierre Digoutte of Institut Pasteur, said the electronic archive can be a useful tool for the control of emerging viral disease. Regular updates and twice yearly forecasts on the site will assist researchers in each country in understanding recent cases of epidemics and epizootics and allow consultation of associated bibliographic references, he explained.

By the end of August, nearly 6,000 electronic pages of data will be added to the 1,350 pages existing on the site, which was first introduced in January, Adam told BioInform earlier this month.

The collection is the product of ongoing research coordinated since 1962 by Crora (the World Health Organization Reference Centre for Research on Arbovirus and the Hemor rhagic Fevers Viruses), based at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal. Most viral strains included in the archives are stored freeze-dried at the Crora, and are available to scientific researchers, he added.

The archives can be reached from the web sites of the Institut Pasteur http://www.pasteur.fr/bio/CRORA and of the Orstom www.orstom.fr/crora. All data are linked in HTML to allow users a multiple access facility, fast search, and easy navigation through the data.

--Piero Piazzano

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