Developing a web-accessible, quality-based, molecular, clinical and epidemiological Database for hepatitis B infection

Poster number: 30

Jonathan Green, Richard Sloan, Samreen Ijaz, Gnanshan Saravanamuttu, Joanne Moran and CG Teo

  1. Centre for Infections, Health Protection Agency, London, UK

The aim of this initiative is to develop a web-accessible, quality-based, molecular, clinical and epidemiological database for hepatitis B infection as a tool for the research community and for those involved in hepatitis B case management

The web database is hosted on the HPA bioinformatics server. This database was built to the specification of the ‘HEPBVAR’ project participants and was designed to include comprehensive clinical, epidemiological and virological data. Data held in the database are manipulated at the London site via Applied Maths “Bionumerics” software which provides convenient and comprehensive analytical capability. Clinical and epidemiological data are inputted via a secure web interface with each group having access which is username- and password-restricted. Each group can view all data but can only modify their own. The HBV DNA database is split into two gene libraries, one encompassing the pre-S / S and P regions and one for X/pre-C/C region. A number of query functions including a BLAST-style search for sequence retrieval have been added into the database to identify sequences more rapidly. Furthermore statistical analysis tools have been added to define the content of the database more clearly. A genotyping tool using a simple ‘string matching’ algorithm has also been developed.

The database now holds 655 sequences from all groups in the HEPBVAR project with varying degrees of completeness in respect to clinical and epidemiological data. The basic format of the database is proven through its use in the HEPBVAR project. Developments underway include:

  • Improved search facilities

  • Automated report generation

  • Improved algorithms for genotyping

  • Search facilities are being improved to allow users to create unique queries.

  • A major developmental feature is the ability for contributors to submit ‘raw’ DNA sequence files and for them to be rigorously quality-assessed before database comparisons or submissions can be performed.

  • Assessment of specific mutations related to vaccine –escape/antiviral resistance

Conclusion: The HEPBVAR project has now ended but the development of a web-accessible, quality-based, molecular, clinical and epidemiological database for hepatitis B infection continues. The database will be useful as an extensive library of HBV sequences well annotated with clinical and epidemiological data. The inclusion of stringent quality-based assessment of submitted data will strengthen the usefulness of the database as a research and clinical tool.