Tue. May 28th, 2024

The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division’s Global Emerging Infections Surveillance branch recently hosted its first Next-Generation Sequencing Summit in Silver Spring, Maryland. The summit brought together representatives from the GEIS network of global partner laboratories and other U.S. government agencies to discuss the use of emerging technologies to detect biothreats. The presentations covered topics such as sequencing capabilities and challenges, the Pathogen Detection Project, bacterial pathogen sequencing, data operationalization, wastewater surveillance, and pathogen agnostic sequencing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the GEIS network used its sequencing capabilities to monitor SARS-CoV-2 variants within the Military Health System and relevant locations for service members around the world. The summit highlighted the opportunity for the infectious disease surveillance community to explore emerging technologies and methods that became available during the pandemic, such as pathogen agnostic sequencing and wastewater surveillance.

The use of wastewater surveillance to monitor community transmission of the virus was discussed, and experts shared best practices for implementing this method. Wastewater surveillance may also have other applications, such as tracking antimicrobial resistance. The summit facilitated in-depth discussions and connections between partner laboratories, and will inform the future direction of the GEIS strategy.

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