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Genomic Detection for Infectious Disease Elimination
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Genomic Detection for Infectious Disease Elimination


Programme Partner: Duke-NUS Medical School

Region: Asia

While COVID has led to 7 million global deaths, more common infectious diseases contribute almost double that number on an annual basis. Conditions such as tuberculosis, drug-resistant bacteria, respiratory viruses, and dengue are neglected silent killers. Many of these deaths are preventable through enhanced detection and control efforts. Recent advances in genomic sequencing, deployed at-scale during COVID, have transformed early disease detection. Genomics is also a critical driver of new tool development including diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. Scaling innovations in genomics can save lives, particularly in high-risk low-resource settings, through improved control and elimination of a wide range of infectious diseases.

The Asia Pathogen Genomics Initiative (Asia PGI) was established in 2021 to leverage scientific and technical partnerships in Singapore and across Asia with the aim of accelerating the application of genomic sequencing across 14 low-resource countries. During 2022-2023, Asia PGI facilitated a national assessment of current capacities, priorities and gaps. Findings show that while all countries have newly established capacity for conducting genomics for infectious disease control, levels of infrastructure and capacity remain too slow to support rapid action.

Asia PGI’s efforts will now focus on strengthening in-country genomics capacity with the aim of detecting priority infections within their 1st week of presenting to health systems. Workstreams include

  • Partnerships: To optimise coordination between national, regional and global partners to accelerate shared learning;
  • Capacity development: To equip countries with technical skills in laboratory, bioinformatics and data-for-decision;
  • Enabling environment: To support national planning, cost-efficient system-design, and respond to emerging supply chain, regulatory and legal challenges; and
  • Monitoring & Research: To track progress, foster innovation and respond to emerging priorities.

Further reading

Genomics for KIDS in ASEAN

Expediting diagnosis and improving access to genomic technologies for children with rare diseases

Building & Leveraging Learning Investments in Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy

Strengthening country capacity to avoid antimicrobial resistance

Economics of Pandemic Preparedness Initiative

Advancing an integrated epidemiological-economic modelling for pandemic preparedness

Social Impact Guarantee for School Eye Health in Vietnam

Enabling vision correction for school-going children for improved health and learning outcomes

Equipping a Regional Network of Emergency Operations Centers to Monitor Climate Risk and Protect Health in the Mekong Region

Strengthening emergency operations centres by integrating monitoring of climate risks and public health threats

Safe Water to Save Lives

Delivering clean drinking water to millions through cost effective and proven chlorination solutions

Flourish Magic School Project

Enhancing social and emotional learning for children in rural China

Ensuring Safe Sanitation

Bringing low-cost fully circular safe sanitation to village families living in (sub)tropical Asia

Enabling Healthcare Access in the Philippines

Enabling access to universal healthcare coverage for vulnerable communities

Breathe Asia

Enabling clean air policies that will halve air pollution levels and climate emissions in cities