Putting genomic surveillance at the heart of viral epidemic response


  • Prof Andrew Rambaut

    University of Edinburgh

  • Prof Marc Suchard

    University of California, Los Angeles

  • Prof Philippe Lemey

    University of Leuven

  • Prof Ian Goodfellow

    University of Cambridge

  • Prof Christopher Fraser

    University of Oxford

  • Prof Nicholas Loman

    University of Birmingham

  • Dr Trevor Bedford

    Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre

Project summary

In recent outbreaks of viral disease such as Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), molecular sequencing of the viral pathogen has revealed critical insights into the evolution and transmission of the disease. This suggests into the potential value of this approach when attempting to control viral outbreaks. However, the scale and impact of new DNA technologies has largely been stunted, in part due to the complexities and logistics of shipping samples for sequencing and resulting delays in the production of the sequence data meaning that the inferences have limited usefulness for the response efforts.

We aim to produce a cheap, mobile, virus sequencing system, supported by statistically rigorous analysis frameworks along with information sharing platforms to prepare for the next outbreak and ensure that viral genome sequencing can have a greater impact on the public health response.