Genomic technologies play a vital role in the control of infectious disease threats. The rapid and accurate analysis of microbial DNA microbial enables detection of new threats and outbreaks and insights into how and where infections are being passed on. This new knowledge is fuelling more effective interventions to prevent and manage the spread of disease.
Keeping up with the science
Bringing our expertise in infectious disease genomics and policy, we have worked with international organisations to help them understand recent developments in genomic technologies and their implications for infectious disease testing and control. This has included producing two reports on SARS-CoV-2 sequencing, for the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND). The first looks at how sequencing has been used to help understand and manage the COVID-19 pandemic, including genomic surveillance; the second explains how genomics is being used to help identify and manage the impact of recent coronavirus ‘variants of concern’.
We continually undertake horizon-scanning to identify and understand the emerging science that could have big impacts for health and policy. Back in 2018, our RNA vaccines briefing set out the potential for this innovative new form of vaccine. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, interest in this resource has rocketed.
We have subsequently created an explainer on how genomics is used in pandemics, and a series of blogs discussing scientific and medical developments relating to the pandemic, especially in genomics. Our legal and ethical experts also contributed to the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health briefing on responsible data sharing during the pandemic.
We first began working on infectious disease genomics and policy back in 2015, when our landmark Pathogen genomics into practice report was released. This and associated briefings highlighted how genomics was being used for infectious disease control in the UK, and made practical policy recommendations build on this biomedical excellence for strengthen health protection capacity.
- Genomic surveillance in the roll out of vaccines
- COG-UK: is it meeting expectations?
- Further genetic clues to severe COVID-19
- Pathogen genomics initiative to boost disease control in Africa
- A new era for vaccine development?
- Genetic and immune basis of severe COVID-19 cases revealed
- Putting AI to work against COVID-19
- The relevance of coronavirus mutation
- COVID-19 and individual risk: the role of genomics
- Citizen generated data in a pandemic
- Using whole genome sequencing to help combat COVID-19