Reference Laboratory of Flavivirus, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL

Tuesday, 5 April 2022 | 12:00 noon – ICGEB Trieste, ITALY

Tracking the spread of emerging and re-emerging viral pathogens

Host: A. Marcello

The economy and health of the world’s population have been affected by infectious diseases whose main records since 1990 include diseases such as ‘Spanish influenza’, West Nile fever, Ebola haemorrhagic fever, HIV/ AIDS, to name but a few. While dengue infection has affected several countries in the tropics and subtropics in the last 20 years, infections by zika and chikungunya viruses, which caused large outbreaks between 2014 and 2016, have threatened countries in the northern hemisphere that until then had no record of circulation of these viruses. Recently, the emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus has caused more than 460 million cases around the world and impacted people’s livelihood.

In Brazil, SARS-CoV-2 disruptions add to the burden of other infectious diseases caused by endemic viruses such as dengue, zika and chikungunya. Such an epidemiological context, where there is the chance of occurrence of co-infections, with possible implications for disease’s severity, points to the challenge of correct identification of pathogenic agents that allows mitigating the underreporting of cases. The dramatic development of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought such attention to molecular methods for virus identification and data analysis on epidemiological and evolutionary aspects of pathogens. In this context, coupling genomic diagnostics and epidemiology to innovative digital disease detection platforms raises the possibility of an open, global, digital pathogen surveillance system. Real-time sequencing, bioinformatics tools and the combination of genomic and epidemiological data from viral infections can give essential information for understanding the past and the future of an epidemic, making possible to establish an effective surveillance framework on tracking the spread of infections to other geographic regions.


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