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March 29, 2021
Sponsored by
Thermo Fisher Scientific

Think Globally, Act Locally: The Importance of Coordinated Global and Community Genetic Surveillance Programs


Professor, Epidemiology; Director, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Certificate Program
Columbia University Medical Center

Assistant Professor-Clinical in the Department of Pathology, Associate Director of the Molecular Pathology Laboratory
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Senior Medical Director
Thermo Fisher Scientific

Global genetic surveillance is vital for understanding the evolution of viral pathogens and monitoring for changes in transmissibility, virulence, disease pathology, and impact on the efficacy of diagnostic tests, therapeutics, and vaccines. As such, global surveillance plays a central role in proactively managing pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Similarly, local genetic surveillance offers an opportunity to understand the evolution of the virus in the community and take actions to manage transmission and monitor evolution at the local level. Robust data about which strains are common, where they are spreading, how their symptoms differ, when new variants are emerging, and more can enable communities, states and countries to better prepare for their arrival. 

Vaccine and test manufacturers are guided by this information as well, cutting weeks or even months from any response they need to make. Genetic surveillance already exists on a large scale to enable scientists to determine which influenza strains are appropriate targets for each year’s flu vaccines, and a similar effort will be needed to make sense of SARS-CoV-2 and its evolving strains.

This webinar will focus on genetic surveillance of the emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2, provide an update on the trending variants, explain the risks of the rise of escape mutants, and outline best practices to establish both global and local surveillance programs, including technologies used for monitoring viral evolution, such as next-generation sequencing.

Learning Objectives:

  • Hear from a leading expert in infectious disease epidemiology regarding emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Receive up-to-date information on the state of emerging variants, the impact of selective pressures, and the associated evolutionary advantage conferred to the virus.
  • Learn about best practices in standing up global and community surveillance efforts.
  • Hear from a thought leader in molecular pathology who harnessed his expertise in molecular genetics to contribute to surveillance efforts on a local level.
This webinar is the second in a two part series on Public Health and Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants: Implications and Responses.
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