Prediction of novel virus–host interactions by integrating clinical symptoms and protein sequences

by Wang Liu-Wei, Şenay Kafkas, Jun Chen, Jesper Tegnér, Robert Hoehndorf


Infectious diseases from novel viruses are becoming a major public health concern. Fast identification of virus–host interactions can reveal mechanistic insights of infectious diseases and shed light on potential treatments and drug discoveries. Current computational prediction methods for novel viruses are based only on protein sequences. Yet, it is not clear to what extent other important features, such as the symptoms caused by the viruses, could contribute to a predictor. Disease phenotypes (i.e., symptoms) are readily accessible from clinical diagnosis and we hypothesize that they may act as a potential proxy and an additional source of information for the underlying molecular interactions between the pathogens and hosts.