Genomics-based pathogen surveillance

Genomics-based pathogen surveillance

Genome Canada is deeply committed to genomic surveillance due to our pivotal role in advancing public health, understanding disease dynamics and bolstering biosecurity. By harnessing the power of genomic sequencing technologies, we aim to support the systematic monitoring and analysis of genetic information from pathogens, organisms and populations. This proactive approach enables the timely detection of emerging infectious diseases, the tracking of disease spread within communities, and the identification of genetic factors influencing disease susceptibility and treatment outcomes.

Genomic surveillance also enhances our ability to respond effectively to disease outbreaks, develop targeted interventions and inform policy decisions for better health outcomes. Through our dedication to genomic surveillance, we strive to contribute significantly to the advancement of scientific knowledge, public health preparedness and the protection of global health security.

What is genomic surveillance?

Genomic surveillance is the consistent monitoring of pathogens, and analysis, via genome sequencing, of their genetic similarities and differences. This method uses genomic sequencing technologies to monitor changes in genetic material over time, offering valuable insights into the evolution, transmission and traits of different biological entities.

Why does this issue matter?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified the need for coordinated and inclusive access to genomic surveillance through its 10-year Global Genomic Surveillance Strategy. And genomic surveillance strategies across the world are evolving toward more collaborative, effective and cost-efficient approaches, like those enabled by water sampling and genome sequencing. The WHO has also highlighted the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) caused by the antimicrobials used to fight infection in its Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance. The Government of Canada launched a pan-Canadian framework—led by the Public Health Agency of Canada—to support and implement the WHO’s global plan, and to deploy a made-in-Canada plan to address the issue.