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Bioinformatics ; 2022 Jan 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1631198


MOTIVATION: The ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and the rapid emergence of variants of concern (VOCs) at distinct geographic locations have relevant implications for the implementation of strategies for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Combining the growing body of data and the evidence on potential functional implications of SARS-CoV-2 mutations can suggest highly effective methods for the prioritization of novel variants of potential concern, e.g., increasing in frequency locally and/or globally. However, these analyses may be complex, requiring the integration of different data and resources. We claim the need for a streamlined access to up-to-date and high-quality genome sequencing data from different geographic regions/countries, and the current lack of a robust and consistent framework for the evaluation/comparison of the results. RESULTS: To overcome these limitations, we developed ViruClust, a novel tool for the comparison of SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences and lineages in space and time. ViruClust is made available through a powerful and intuitive web-based user interface. Sophisticated large scale analyses can be executed with a few clicks, even by users without any computational background. To demonstrate potential applications of our method, we applied ViruClust to conduct a thorough study of the evolution of the most prevalent lineage of the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant, and derived relevant observations. Conclusions By allowing the seamless integration of different types of functional annotations and the direct comparison of viral genomes and genetic variants in space and time, ViruClust represents a highly valuable resource for monitoring the evolution of SARS-CoV-2, facilitating the identification of variants and/or mutations of potential concern. AVAILABILITY: ViruClust is openly available at

Database (Oxford) ; 20212021 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443040


EpiSurf is a Web application for selecting viral populations of interest and then analyzing how their amino acid changes are distributed along epitopes. Viral sequences are searched within ViruSurf, which stores curated metadata and amino acid changes imported from the most widely used deposition sources for viral databases (GenBank, COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) and Global initiative on sharing all influenza data (GISAID)). Epitopes are searched within the open source Immune Epitope Database or directly proposed by users by indicating their start and stop positions in the context of a given viral protein. Amino acid changes of selected populations are joined with epitopes of interest; a result table summarizes, for each epitope, statistics about the overlapping amino acid changes and about the sequences carrying such alterations. The results may also be inspected by the VirusViz Web application; epitope regions are highlighted within the given viral protein, and changes can be comparatively inspected. For sequences mutated within the epitope, we also offer a complete view of the distribution of amino acid changes, optionally grouped by the location, collection date or lineage. Thanks to these functionalities, EpiSurf supports the user-friendly testing of epitope conservancy within selected populations of interest, which can be of utmost relevance for designing vaccines, drugs or serological assays. EpiSurf is available at two endpoints. Database URL: (for searching GenBank and COG-UK sequences) and (for GISAID sequences).

Amino Acid Substitution , Antigens, Viral/chemistry , Epitopes/chemistry , Internet , Metadata , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Search Engine , Software , Amino Acids/chemistry , Amino Acids/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/immunology