Whole-genome sequencing – lessons for public health surveillance

Genomic sequencing has proven vital in detecting the source and variants of COVID-19, improving contact tracing, reducing disease transmission and ensuring health security for Australia. But genomic sequencing isn’t new and researchers from the NHMRC Centre of Digital Health (CRE) have been investigating it’s use in cases from public surveillance of Salmonella Typhimurium, predicting antibiotic

Degeling C, Carter SM, McAnulty J, Sintchenko V, Braunack-Mayer A, Yarwood T, Johnson J, Gilbert GL. Community perspectives on the benefits and risks of technologically enhanced communicable disease surveillance systems: A report on four community juries. BMC Medical Ethics 2020; 21(1):31.

Background: Outbreaks of infectious disease cause serious and costly health and social problems. Two new technologies – pathogen whole genome sequencing (WGS) and Big Data analytics – promise to improve our capacity to detect and control outbreaks earlier, saving lives and resources. However, routinely using these technologies to capture more detailed and specific personal information