The mission of ViroLab is to develop a virtual laboratory for infectious diseases. In future years, genetic information is expected to become increasingly significant in many areas of medicine. This expectation comes from the recent and anticipated achievements in genomics, which provide an unparalleled opportunity to advance the understanding of the role of genetic factors in human health and disease, to allow more precise definition of the non-genetic factors involved, and to apply this insight rapidly to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Three main classes of ViroLab users have been identified: members of the medical scientific community, computer scientists, and industry or commercial users.
As a consequence, large numbers of complex genetic sequences are increasingly becoming available. Because of this, ViroLab offers a unique opportunity as a prototype for studying the potentially many diseases where genetic information will become important in future years.
The long term mission of ViroLab is to provide researchers and medical doctors in Europe with a virtual laboratory for infectious diseases.
To this end a virtual laboratory will be developed enabling easy access to distributed resources as well as sharing, processing and analysing virological, immunological, clinical and experimental data. As a prototype for this virtual laboratory for infectious diseases, the problem of HIV drug resistance will be used. The virtual laboratory will integrate the biomedical information from viruses (proteins and mutations), patients (e.g. viral load) and literature (drug resistance experiments) resulting in a rule-based distributed decision support system for drug ranking. In addition ViroLab will include advanced tools for (bio) statistical analysis, visualization, modelling and simulation, enabling prediction of the temporal virological and immunological response of viruses with complex mutation patterns for drug therapy.