Genomic surveillance for future pandemic preparedness
About Rajesh Pandey
Rajesh Pandey’s lab is focussed on INtegrative GENomics of HOst-PathogEn (INGEN-HOPE). This encompasses: clinical data, pathogen genome architecture, co-infections, host response, single-cell genomics enabled functional role of cellular heterogeneity, and AI/ML for understanding disease severity and clinical outcome. At the same time, his group is working to develop genomics-based solutions for point-of-care sequencing, combining scale, speed, sensitivity, and sample cost. This is especially important in infrastructure-limited settings, in rural areas, for proactive pathogen discovery and surveillance.
Genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in India, and globally, has two important arms: high-throughput and high-priority sequencing. Both these aspects become more relevant in infrastructure-limited settings. Nanopore sequencing has been greatly helpful for SARS-CoV-2 genomic understanding in India, which has seen many milestones — initial footprint, re-infections, variants of concern (VOC), and vaccination breakthrough infections. As we prepare for future pandemic preparedness, it is important to translate the strength and understanding of genomic surveillance for other pathogens of concern. Along with the above, we are also employing nanopore sequencing for pathogen discovery programs.