Increased movement of both people and goods, and ongoing changes in climatic conditions are likely to influence the persistence and spread of viral pathogens and antimicrobial resistance; On the other hand, science through the power of genomics and metagenomics provides an opportunity for cost-effective management of infectious diseases through timely detection, identification, and characterization for appropriate risk management
Genomic information offers the opportunity for the management of infectious diseases and viral epidemics, such as description of the source of pathogens and contact tracing, precise diagnosis of infection, describe transmission patterns, describe new strains of pathogens, advance our understanding of host-pathogen interactions, helps our understanding of infectious disease pathogenesis and immune response and may help guide vaccine development and treatment strategies.
Understanding specific genome sequences in specific pathogens allows for the development of genomic-based diagnostics. Thus, we operate as hub for next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics analysis to enable analysis of viral genomes, resistomes and provide a platform for the development of genomics-based diagnostics and vaccine candidates. This programme focus to build such regional capacity, based on these four pillars
How could genomics and Metagenomics advance pathogen surveillance, development of affordable diagnostics, understanding of host-pathogen interaction, unravel the factors that influence virus transmission and evolution, and reduce the burden of viral epidemics and antimicrobial resistance in the Changing World including Climate Change?. Research topics include
Using integrative technology-driven disease surveillance tools to enhance the efficiency of epidemic intelligence
Applying AI to predict trends and provide real-time monitoring, control and management of infectious disease outbreaks
we conduct genomic surveillance of pathogens of public and animal health importance including antimicrobial resistance for the purpose of monitoring pathogen evolution, conduct pathogen discovery and understand disease epidemiology. This work is useful in detecting emerging and re-emerging disease threats, development of genomic-based diagnostics, understanding host-pathogen interaction and development of vaccines. Our expertise in pathogen genomic surveillance is useful for outcome-driven research programmes
We exploit the power of genomics and metagenomics to develop affordable, rapid, field-deployable and fit-for-purpose diagnostics for single and multiplex detection of pathogens. We will do this by focusing on viral hemorrhagic fevers, arboviruses, transboundary animal diseases and new viruses. We develop serological-based assay in order to support vaccine development and monitor the exposure of humans animals to pathogens.
We conduct in vitro and in vivo studies to understand the relationship between pathogens and their host/ reservoirs. This enables our understanding of disease pathogenesis, differential gene expression in hosts after infection, host-vector microbiome interactions and the influence of epigenetic factors in disease development. Our work focuses on transboundary animal diseases and arboviruses
We identify vaccine candidates, conduct vaccine matching and epitope mapping with particular focus on specific transboundary animal diseases, arboviruses and new viruses of public and animal health importance. We partner with the Pirbright Institute, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the industry to conduct genomic assessment of vaccine strains in their different vaccine produced batches.