Express Pharma

Private genomics industry may be called upon to speed up strategic genome surveillance initiatives

Clevergene, a tech company, offers genomics services for contract research and genetic diagnostics. In an interview, Tony Jose, Co-Founder & CEO, Clevergene, shares details about the significance of genomic surveillance, current and emerging technology approaches in this sphere, its role in developing new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics, Clevergene's offerings and more, with Lakshmipriya Nair

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How has the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the value and significance of genomic surveillance? How can it play a critical role in making the world more informed and adept at preventing and curtailing future epidemics and pandemics?

Verily speaking, the genome is the genetic blueprint of every living organism. It has been found that pathogens such as viruses can alter their genome rapidly to evolve into more contagious and dangerous strains. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the pressing need for constant genomic surveillance of entire populations. This will prove immensely helpful in pinpointing mutant strains and their spatial confines so as to ensure the necessary defensive measures against the dissemination of such lethal strains.

There is a vehement need to recognise the fact that though these viruses may not be pathologically active in other species or the environment any modification in the host’s conditions can render them virulent. It is essential to strictly observe different types of environments whether water, soil, or living organisms. This shall prove fruitful in determining if there is any anomalous surge in the density of a particular microorganism or the accretion of potent mutations in them. This state of the art metagenomic monitoring will help us identify potential virulent threats and deploy crucial measures that are needed for maintaining a healthy and robust ecosystem. This in turn will safeguard humanity by averting pandemics in the future.

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