Researchers at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health are building the world’s most comprehensive database describing human and animal pathogens, which can be used to prevent and tackle disease outbreaks around the globe.
The Enhanced Infectious Diseases (EID2) database has been developed by the Liverpool University Climate and Infectious Diseases of Animals (LUCINDA) team and is funded by a BBSRC Strategic Tools and Resources Development Fund grant.
Effectively mapping the relationships between human and animal diseases and their hosts, disease-causing pathogens and the ways in which pathogens are transmitted can offer huge benefits when it comes to knowing what the disease risks are in a population or geographical area, and how best to manage and eliminate them.
The EID2 team realised that there was a potential treasure trove of data already available in the scientific literature and in pre-existing databases, which was just waiting to be mined for useful insights – a ‘Big Data’ approach. ‘Big Data’ is about utilising large datasets which may already have been collected, but which may be unstructured, and not fit into a conventional data-frame, by using often high performance and/or complex computing technologies. The emphasis on Big Data has increased recently because people have realised that the data that they have collected routinely, if used cleverly, can contain much more useful and potentially extra information than previously thought.