Human Data

Sensitive data infrastructure

1+Million Genomes and The Genome of Europe

Handling of sensitive data is a high priority topic in Europe and Flanders. In 2020 Belgium joined the group of signatories of the EC 1+Million Genomes (1+MG) declaration. 1+MG intends to grant researchers secure, cross-border access to one million genomes in the EU by 2022. 


ELIXIR Belgium leads the 1+MG  infrastructure Belgian mirror group (WG5), responsible for the technical component and requirements to ensure interoperability of human omics data while complying with security and privacy regulations. The membership of ELIXIR allows us to tap into the expertise of countries ahead in the implementation of such infrastructure. The deployment of 1+MG infrastructure will be tackled in the upcoming Genomic Data Infrastructure (GDI) project - part of EC digital programme. VIB along with Siensano are Belgian participants in the GDI project.

The Genome of Europe is a 1+MG driver initiative to generate 500M genomes from European non-patient cohorts. In Belgium, this objective will be undertaken by the Belgian Genome Biobank (BGB), a multi-institutional infrastructure project which aims to create a genomic resource of the Belgian population in order to support future genetic and health studies. The ELIXIR team will take the lead in enabling the shared data models and state-of-the-art data encryption processes to ensure secure, cloud-based distributed access to the data.


Services for human research data

Belgium has a strong portfolio of human data related bioinformatics services, specifically on interpretation of integrated data to gain insight in human health. UHasselt, KU Leuven and UAntwerpen collaborate closely on developing federated platforms for human data. WiNGS is a federated platform for interpretation of whole genome sequencing data that focuses on data security and extensive access control. VariantDB, integrated into WiNGS, provides dynamic annotation and filtering strategies. The Federated MS Data Alliance (MSDA) infrastructure enables large-scale collaborative efforts of real-world data and is used within the COVID-19 &MS Global Data Sharing Initiative. In the platform for oligogenic analysis, ORVAL, users can upload genetic patient  information and explore the potential oligogenic causes of rare diseases. The TCRex platform allows to accelerate immune repertoire research by exploring the human repertoire in cancer, autoimmune disorders and viral infections as COVID-19.

Linking with health and clinical data is one of our future focus points which will be facilitated via our involvement in the European Health Data Space (EHDS).