ShePower: The coronavirus database she built with a team helps many countries
Updated 21:28, 05-May-2020
Zhang Ziyu

Gene sequences look abstruse for many people, but for genetic scientists, they contain the mysteries of life. Song Shuhui is one of the genetic scientists who helped collect and analyze the gene sequence of the novel coronavirus.

Song works as an associate professor at the Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). She and her team established a novel coronavirus information platform in China and provided data for other countries. 

The novel coronavirus information platform

"Until April 3, the cumulative data downloads from our novel coronavirus database are over 516 million times, which has provided data services to more than 91,000 visitors in 159 countries and regions," said Song. 

She explained the reason behind information sharing. The database can help disease-control medical institutions around the world develop test kits, diagnose patients in a shorter time, and save more lives.

"Epidemic prevention and control are not one country's problem," Song said, adding that as a responsible country, we are willing to help other countries to fight against the coronavirus and fulfill scientific prevention and control.

A picture of Song Shuhui. /Courtesy of Song Shuhui

A picture of Song Shuhui. /Courtesy of Song Shuhui

Explore the unknown

Studies of sequencing the genomes could reveal the secrets of human beings, which remains unknown for scientists.  

How can human beings evolve better? How much longer can humans live? Can we cure terminal diseases like cancer? 

Genome research may help solve these problems.

"I was particularly interested in genome research when I was in college, which was when China launched the human genome project. In my senior year, the Genomics Institute began to recruit students, so I applied for it. I continued to study for my Ph.D. degree and then started working. You can say that I grew up with the institute and witnessed the development of this field," said Song when sharing her enthusiasm for the field. 

The process of continuous thinking helps Song to overcome difficulties at work, and also promotes academic development.

Scriptwriter: Zhang Ziyu

Cover image designer: Yin Yating

Executive producer: Zhang Xiaohe 

Producer: Si Nan 

Supervisor: Zhang Shilei