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Victors Introduction

Infectious disease has a major impact on human and animal health, causing major mortality and morbidity, and also causes huge agricultural losses due to outbreaks of disease. There are many pathogens that are highly virulent, but there are also pathogens that at times cause disease, and at other times are a normal part of a host’s microbiota. So what allows for these differences between a virulent microbe and a harmless one? Virulence factors are the gene products that allow microbes to invade a host and evade its defenses.

Why keep track of known virulence factors? Knowledge of virulence factors can be used in vaccine development, and also generate targets for new drugs in an age of increasing antibiotic resistance. Understanding the complexities of host pathogen interactions is key to finding effective ways of combating disease, and its effects such as pathogens that stimulate the carcinogenesis.

Victors is a database comprised of genes experimentally observed to be necessary for virulence. Included are virulence factors for many different bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, which are pathogenic to animals and humans. Within Victors are virulence factors, as well as corresponding sequence information taken from NCBI when available. LPS and capsule structures are also included as virulence factors, but do not have attached sequence information as they are tertiary gene products and therefore do not have singular sequence data available. 

Currently there are genomes available for many different pathogenic microbes, and Victors strives to collect the genetic information of those factors that are involved in virulence, while also documenting virulence factors that do not have genetic information in NCBI at this time, or are virulence factors that are the product of multiple genes (LPS, polysaccharide capsules, etc.)

Currently, Victors contains 5304 virulence factors for 195 different pathogens including bacteria such as M. tuberculosis, Brucella, Y. pestis, and Streptococcus spp., viruses such as HIV and influenza, parasites such as Plasmodium and fungi such as C. neoformans.