Navigation Links
Will genomics help prevent the next pandemic?

This week, the Public Library of Science, an open-access publisher, presents the "Genomics of Emerging Infectious Disease," a collection of essays, perspectives, and reviews that explores how genomicswith all its associated tools and techniquescan provide insights into our understanding of emerging infectious disease.

As pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza (commonly referred to as swine flu) continues to spread around the globe, people want to know if this flu poses more of a threat than other seasonal flu strains, how fast it's spreading (and where), and what can be done to contain it. The increasing speed at which complete genome sequences and other genome-scale data can be generated provides tremendous opportunities to address these questions by identifying the molecular changes in disease agents such as influenza viruses that will enable us to track their spread and evolution and to generate the vaccines and drugs necessary to combat them. The "Genomics of Emerging Infectious Disease" collection discusses the challenges involved and how scientists and public health professionals might take advantage of these opportunities and advances to prevent the next pandemic. (See the link at the bottom of the release for a press preview PDF containing all the a rticles in the collection;.when the embargo ends the collection will be available at

Emerging infectious diseases are caused by a wide range of organisms, but they are perhaps best typified by zoonotic viral diseases, which cross from animal to human hosts and can have a devastating impact on human health. These zoonotic diseases include monkeypox, Hendra virus, Nipah virus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), in addition to influenza A and the lentiviruses (HIV) that cause AIDS. As Albert Osterhaus and colleagues from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, point out in their article in the collection, the apparent increased transmission of pathogens from animals to humans over recent decades can be attributed to the unintended consequences of globalization as well as environmental factors and changes in agricultural practices.

Articles in the collection also shine a spotlight on specific pathogens, some familiar and widespread, such as the influenza A virus, some "reemerging," such as the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex that causes tuberculosis, and some identified only relatively recently, such as the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is associated with peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. Others discuss the broader implications of genomics research in this area, such as what it means for researchers in developing countries or for our biosecurity. As Jacques Ravel and colleagues from the US University of Maryland School of Medicine note, genomics can and should be used proactively to build our preparedness for and responsiveness to biological threats.

The collection is a collaborative effort that combines financial support from [] with PLoS's editorial independence and rigor and the expert opinion of leading researchers from several different disciplines. Rajesh Gupta from Stanford University, and colleagues provide's perspective and vision for how systematic application of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics to infectious diseases could predict and prevent the next pandemic. To realize this vision, they urge the community to unite under an "Infectious Disease Genomics Project," analogous to the Human Genome Project.

Jonathan Eisen, a Professor at the University of California, whose laboratory is in the UC Davis Genome Center, is the Editor of this PLoS collection, which includes 14 articlesall publishing on 26 October 2009from six different PLoS journals (PLoS Biology, PLoS Medicine, PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Genetics, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLoS Pathogens), reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the topic.

Many scientific journals produce special issues on a topic of interest for their audiences. However, open-access publishing, such as that done by the Public Library of Science, makes it possible to have such a large multidisciplinary cross-journal collection simultaneously available online for unrestricted reuse, regardless of venue (see also the Audio Interview that accompanies the collection: As outlined in the collection's editorial published in PLoS Biology, this collection will add to other "open science" activities that have helped provide insights into infectious disease more quickly than would have been thought feasible only a few years ago.

The faster, cheaper, and more openly we can distribute the discoveries of science, the better for scientific progress and public health. Managing the threat of novel, re-emerging, and longstanding infectious diseases is challenging enough even without barriers to scientific research.


Contact: Liz Allen
Public Library of Science

Related medicine news :

1. Anemia and tropical diseases; Is pharmacogenomics ready for the clinic?
2. Medco, LabCorp Strike Strategic Agreement for Research on Personalized Medicine and Pharmacogenomics
3. Virginia Commonwealth University to Study Genomics-Based Diagnostic Test:
4. NeoGenomics, Inc. Schedules its Q3 07 Earnings Conference Call For Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 11:00 AM
5. NeoGenomics Announces Results for the 3rd Quarter 2007
6. Rosetta Genomics Strengthens Senior Management in Preparation for its First Commercial Launch of microRNA-Based Diagnostic Products in 2008
7. Rosetta Genomics to Webcast Panel Presentation at RBC Capital Markets 2007 Healthcare Conference
8. NIH announces new initiative in epigenomics
9. AutoGenomics Receives FDA Clearance for its INFINITI(TM) Warfarin Assay
10. Eric J. Topol, M.D., to Present Late-Breaking Lecture About Advancements in Genomics of Cardiovascular Disease at ACCs 57th Annual Scientific Session
11. Navigenics Proposes Standards for Personal Genomics Services, Coupled With Prospective Outcomes Studies, to Safeguard Consumers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... ... 6:00 a.m. EST until 11:59 p.m. EST, customers will be racing the ... orders $80 or more to free gifts with purchases, there will be a new sale ... website for skin care and cosmetic needs, customers will save on already discounted prices. , ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... There is only one major question facing all ... year? , This question has not been an easy question to answer. Especially when ... and the younger workforce don’t share the same discipline around working long hours. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... According to an article published November 6th by The ... of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring bicyclists to wear helmets may not actually ... the reason for the controversial conclusion is that, while helmets have certainly prevented a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the health care in America. As people age, more care is needed, especially ... are rising, and medical professionals are being overworked. The forgotten part of this ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... safe and convenient way to dispense prescription medications at home, so he invented ... way to monitor and dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it could help ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... their offering. --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the European Therapeutic Drug Monitoring ... Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities"  report ... ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- Research and Markets ( ) has ... Horizons and Growth Strategies in the Italian Therapeutic ... Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities" report to ... --> This new 247-page report provides ... monitoring market, including emerging tests, technologies, instrumentation, sales ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: