With Machine Learning, Researchers Get New Clues in the Hunt for the Source of Mysterious Virus

November 1, 2018

(STAT News) – Thousands of viruses are out there in the wild, circulating in animal hosts and only gaining attention when they infect people. Viruses can make that jump in various ways — sometimes through direct contact, sometimes via an intermediary like a mosquito or tick. But researchers don’t have great tools to quickly determine the reservoirs that house the viruses or the “vectors” by which they were transmitted. On Thursday, researchers unveiled a new system, based on machine learning models, that identifies patterns in the genomes of viruses to offer a hypothesis about their hosts and vectors.

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