To address the COVID-19 outbreak, the Institut Français de Bioinformatique (IFB) launches an action to identify the needs in computing and data analysis, and offers expertise and computing facilities to support the involved teams.


    • Skills in computing, statistical analysis, databases, data science and bioinformatics.  IFB federates 30 platforms of services spread over all the French regions, and gathering 400 experts in the different domains of bioinformatics.

    • A high-performance computing infrastructure. The National Network of Computing Resources (NNCR) regroups 22 000 computing cores and 115 Tb RAM on national and regional servers (HPC clusters andclouds, https://www.france-bioinformatique.fr/en/infrastructure-0), including very high memory servers (3 Tb RAM, powered with 48 à 256 cores per server).

    • Software environments suited to the needs of life and health sciences: bioinformatics tools, databases, packages, containers, virtual machines, workflows and a national Galaxy instance (https://usegalaxy.fr).

    • A community forum to share experience and provide mutual support between users and experts (https://community.france-bioinformatique.fr/).

    • Importantly, our actions include but are not restricted to our bioinformatics-specific skills. We interact with the teams involved in the fight against COVID-19, to identify their needs and provide concrete and efficient support.

    • Bioinformatics against COVID-19

    • Finally, IFB  is part of the international effort led by EBI to create a European COVID19 Data Portal (https://www.covid19dataportal.org/)


    In action

    We interact with the teams involved in the fight against COVID-19, to identify their needs and propose them a concrete and efficient support; We also make the link between the different COVID-19 targeting actions at the national and international level (ELIXIREBI).


    Contact us

    Simply send us an email : contact@groupes.france-bioinformatique.fr.



    IFB vs COVID-19 Task Force : Alban Gaignard, Christophe Antoniewski, Christophe Blanchet, Claudine Médigue, David Salgado, Hervé Ménager, Ivan Moszer, Jacques van Helden, Julien Seiler, Gildas Le Corguillé, Olivier Collin, Olivier Sand, Patrick Guterl, Sowmya Rajan, Victoria Dominguez Del Angel, Vincent Navratil

    Figure: Cracking COVID-19, by Alice van Helden, adapted from Alissa Eckert COVID-19 original (source: CDC)


    Ongoing and achieved IFB actions

    NbActionDescriptionCategoryApplicantContact  task force  COVID-19
    1Docking on the bigmem clusterInstallation of a Java docking tool on the IFB-core-cluster, support for the use of the cluster, and access to the bigmem node for the screening of a molecular library in order to identify ligands potentially useful to fight SARS-CoV-2 infection.ComputeBaptiste MartinTask force NNCR Cluster
    2In vitro screening for SARS-CoV-2 inhibitorsSupport to Bruno Coutard's virology team for the statistical analysis of an in vitro screening with a library of 1520 antiviral molecules, in order to identify inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 infection.StatisticsFranck Touret, Bruno Coutard & Etienne DecrolyJacques van Helden
    3VirHostNet SARS-CoV-2 releaseUpdate of the VirHostNet knowledge base (protein-protein interactions) dedicated to SARS-CoV-2 and to systems biology-based research against COVID-19.Databases Vincent Navratil
    4Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 envelope proteinThe severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) envelope (E) protein harbors a conserved BH3-like motifPublication Vincent Navratil
    5COVIDScan: Thoracic CT scan results database of COVID suspected patientsThis resource was developed to facilitate the creation of structured reports concerning thoracic scanners for patients suspected of COVID pneumonia. The tool can be integrated into Radiological Information Systems and allows the extraction of data.DatabasesPascal Béroud, Pole de radiologie et d'imagerie médicale du Grand Hôpital de l'Est FrancilienDavid Salgado
    6VirHostSeq: dual RNA-seq metatranscriptome analysis of Covid-19 patients.In the context of the VibraFlu project (PIA ECOFECT) and in collaboration with Laurence Josset team at HCL, we have developed a bioinformatics pipeline called VirHostSeq for the analysis of dual RNA-seq transcriptome/metatranscriptomes. This pipeline is applied to real-time analysis of metatranscriptome of Covid-19 patients from HCL.Analysis Vincent Navratil
    7Viromedb: a complete viral genome databaseIn the context of the VibraFlu project (PIA ECOFECT) and in collaboration with Laurence Josset team at HCL, we have developed Viromedb a database of complete viral genome including SARS-CoV-2 referenced in GenBank and Refseq database.Databases Vincent Navratil
    8Home Learning (lessons about COVID-19)This project, set up during the Virtual Biohackathon, aimed to develop beginner's lessons in bioinformatics around the Covid-19.Training Victoria Dominguez Del Angel, Olivier Sand
    9COVID-19 Workflows HubWorkflowHub is a European-wide registry of scientific workflows funded by EOSC-Life, which involves ELIXIR nodes: UK (lead), NL, BE, FR, DE and ES. COVID-19 Workflows Hub is a fast tracked instance resulting from the COVID-19 Biohackathon (from 5 to 11 April 2020).Workflows Alban Gaignard, Hervé Ménager
    10SARS-CoV-2 originsAnalysis of genomic and proteic sequences in various coronavirus strains in order to infer the evolutionary events at the origin of SARS-CoV-2, and to understand the mechanisms of virulence.PhylogenyEtienne Decroly (AFMB)Jacques van Helden
    11Impact of COVID-19 on Human psychologyDeployment of a Shiny app enabling to visualise the results of a study about the impact of COVID-19 pandemy on Human psychology (stress, confidence, observance of sanitary rules), let by an international consortium of psychologists and neurobiologists.Psychology and neurosciencesGuillaume Gautreau (LabGEM)NNCR task force
    12Bioinformatics investigation about SARS-CoV-2 originsAn French-taught introductory course to bioinformatics methods with practicals entirely based on questions and data related to the origins of SARS-CoV-2. The course is addressed to 2nd year students in sciences with a very basic background in biology. The bioinformatics approaches include: annotations of genomic and proteic sequences, pairwise alignments, profiles of percent identical proteins, similarity searches, multiple alignemnts, phylogeny inference.Training Jacques van Helden
    13PIPprofileR: a web tool to generate profiles of percent identical positionsA Shiny-based Web tool enabling to generate profiles of Percent Identical Positions (PIP), which are widely used to compare coronavirus genomes and etect recombinant regions.Tools Thomas Denecker
    14Biomarker discovery in exhaled airBioinformatic and biostatistical methods for the treatment and analysis of expired air by mass spectrometry and electronic nose developed by CEA in partnership with the Exhalomics platform of the Foch Hospital/University Versailles Saint-Quentin. In particular the ptairMS R package for processing PTR-TOF-MS spectrometry data, available on github.Tools, Signal Processing, Statistics Camille Roquencourt, Stanislas Grassin Delyle, Etienne Thévenot
    15The great adventure of ScienceA series of four 1-hour sessions on the French radio France Culture about scientific approaches to the Covid-19 pandemic, opening wider questions about the world of science: publication, handling of uncertainty, public communication, competitiveness, political issues, frauds, power games, ...Public communication Jacques van Helden
    16Development of an unversal quality control kitAt the current stage only already commercialized RNA fragments are used, in order to ensure rapid product development; first evaluation of the corresponding quality tests was already performed at the CHU Bordeaux in September 2020. Next stage will concern the development of an universal quality control kit and will involve the analysis of possible RNA sequence combinatorics; the corresponding test kits will be validated at a national reference centerSequence analysis Alexis Groppi
    17Docking on gridInstalling nodes for docking compute on biomed VOComputeVincent BretonAntoine Mahul

    Some other actions to support bioinformatics against COVID-19

    In France

    In Europe


    • RDA - Research Data Alliance - RDA COVID-19 Working Group - Urgent Call for Expert Contributions :
      The objective of this Working Group is to clearly define detailed guidelines on data sharing and re-use under the present COVID-19 circumstances to help researchers follow best practices to maximize the efficiency of their work. The guidelines will focus on the management of data originating from different data sources and the development of a system for data sharing in public health emergencies that supports scientific research (https://www.rd-alliance.org/rda-covid-19-working-group-urgent-call-expert-contributions).
    • Individual initiave (USA, Japan, Germany) - COVID-19 Biohackathon April 5-11 2020 :
      The goal of COVID-19-BH20 is to create a cohesive effort and work on tooling for COVID-19 analysis. The biohackathon will lead to more readily accessible data, protocols, detection kits, protein predictions etc. We will also push for policy change where it comes to non-public or hard to access data because we are facing such challenges! (https://github.com/virtual-biohackathons/covid-19-bh20)
    • Coronavirus Tools : http://evbc.uni-jena.de/tools/coronavirus-tools/
      IFB - Institut Français de Bioinformatique ♦ CNRS UMS 3601 ♦ IFB-Core, Génoscope - 2 rue Gaston Crémieux, 91057 - ÉVRY – CEDEX ANR-11-INBS-0013236
      magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram