From Diagnosis to Surveillance: Using Next Gen Genomics in Outbreak Response

Saturday, 14 February 2015: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 220B (San Jose Convention Center)
Stephen Gire, Harvard University and the Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA
To date, standard procedures for Ebola outbreak response consist of diagnosis, patient containment and epidemiological contact tracing. While these strategies have worked well in the past to curtail the spread of Ebola during focal outbreaks, large-scale epidemics like the West African outbreak present new challenges that need new solutions. During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we paired diagnosis with Next Generation Sequencing to provide new insights into genomic surveillance of diseases in real-time, allowing for the reconstruction of transmission chains, the rapid identification of mutations that may affect diagnostics and therapeutics, and the generation of scientific initiatives that enable better understanding of emerging and unknown disease outbreaks. By using Next Gen technologies, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa presents an opportunity to create genomic surveillance centers in outbreak-prone regions that can be utilized to identify circulating pathogens before they become epidemics.