Genomics is transforming modern infectious disease surveillance, expanding our understanding of pathogen evolution, host–pathogen interactions, and antibiotic resistance. In turn, public health professionals are changing the methods they use to protect epidemics and pandemics of high-profile diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV, and influenza.
Traditional methods of assessing infectious agents include antibody-based testing, real-time PCR, pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). These methods are typically useful only for a small and defined number of organisms, and data analysis can be subjective.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) provides a universal, hypothesis-free method for infectious disease surveillance that can be used with viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Genomic analysis with NGS provides high-resolution information to distinguish pathogen strains that differ by as little as one SNP, and it can replace multiple tests.
Illumina NGS technology delivers rapid results and high data quality that public health professionals are adopting to identify, track, and respond to outbreaks.
In 2014, the world's eyes were pointed toward West Africa, where an Ebola outbreak was claiming the lives of thousands of people. Long before that, however, the Ebola virus was quietly circulating.
To understand how to prevent future outbreaks, we spoke with teams at the Broad Institute and in Sierra Leone. Their work underscores the need for sensitive tools to monitor infectious disease threats.Read Article
Local scientists used the iSeq 100 System to analyze transmission patterns and trace the origin of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Read Article
Genomic studies with the HiSeq and MiSeq Systems enabled researchers to track Ebola outbreaks and understand the impact of the virus's rapid mutation rate.Read Interview