Infectious disease and genomics

Knowledge emerging from the genomic sequencing of pathogens is fuelling more effective interventions to prevent and manage the spread of infectious diseases


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 included producing a report on SARS-CoV-2 variants for the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), which explains how genomics is being used to help identify and manage the impact of recent coronavirus ‘variants of concern’.

In addition, we reported on how sequencing technologies had been used to understand and mitigate the pandemic. Next generating sequencing for SARA-CoV-2 expands on the impact of identifying variants of concern and the role of genomic surveillance for informing public health and policy.

COVID-19 contributions

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.

Pathogen genomics

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.

Further blogs



Genomics and policy news

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