How Global Genomic Surveillance Can Prevent Future Pandemics and Superbugs

How Global Genomic Surveillance Can Prevent Future Pandemics and Superbugs

Experts Call for Global Genomic Surveillance System to Prevent the Next Pandemic

In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, experts are urging for the implementation of a worldwide genomic surveillance system to prevent future health crises.

Real-Time Genomic Surveillance: A Game-Changer

Real-time genomic surveillance entails sequencing the genetic material of pathogens to identify their unique characteristics. This allows scientists to monitor their spread, evolution, and potential resistance mechanisms, enabling timely interventions. “A local outbreak today may become the world’s next pandemic crisis tomorrow,” cautions Marc Struelens, lead author of a recent report published in Frontiers in Science.

The ‘One Health’ Approach: A Holistic Perspective

The ‘One Health’ approach acknowledges the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. It emphasizes the importance of collaboration across these sectors to effectively address health challenges. As 60% of human infectious diseases are zoonotic, monitoring animals and the environment for potential pathogens can prevent future outbreaks. “Even from an egoistic human species perspective, we need to know how we interact with other ecosystems and living beings because microbes just travel across the world, species, and ecosystems,” explains Struelens.

Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance

Genomic surveillance can also play a vital role in combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR). By detecting the emergence of drug-resistant micro-organisms before they cause disease, it empowers healthcare professionals to take proactive measures. “Whole genome sequencing can help detect the emergence of these multiple drug-resistant micro-organisms, which can be very difficult to treat, even before they cause disease,” says Struelens.

Lessons Learned from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for strengthened disease response and surveillance. In collaboration with the UK Health Security Agency, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a pan-European network for disease control. This network aims to foster collaboration and data sharing among countries to prepare for future health emergencies.

Global Collaboration is Key

The report published in Frontiers of Science underscores the significance of harmonizing methods and coordinating timely data sharing globally. “Cross-border threats from infectious diseases and AMR require a coordinated international approach,” the report states. “Whole genome sequencing is increasingly becoming a global health tool that can help in the prevention and control of infectious diseases and their transmission across borders.”

By implementing a comprehensive genomic surveillance system that embraces the ‘One Health’ approach and fosters global collaboration, we can enhance pandemic preparedness, prevent future outbreaks, and protect the health of our planet.

By Divya

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *