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In conversation: infectious disease

Dr Peter English, an infectious disease expert, discusses how genomics informs his speciality.

The second part of our Week 3 course delves a little into the increasingly important ways that genomics is used within the field of infectious disease.

Many of these are of particular interest and relevance currently due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and as a Doctor, your friends and colleagues may expect you to understand and comment on the genetics involved.

In the video above and the following step, Dr Rafi interviews Dr Peter English, a consultant in communicable diseases control, about his experiences with genomics in infectious disease.

Some examples of how genomics is used include:

  • Helping to track outbreaks, sequencing genomes and watching mutations arise in real time to aid tracking of spread across the world
  • Identifying treatment targets – the sequence of a pathogenic organism can be analysed to identify possible treatment targets – these would be conserved domains across evolution that are important for the pathogen to function
  • Looking for pathogen mutations which confer drug resistance, allowing tailored treatment strategies for each individual
  • Identifying vaccine targets and new delivery models to produce an immune reaction to protect against the pathogen

Next we will discuss these areas in a little more detail with examples from the COVID-19 pandemic and TB pharmacogenomics.

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Genomic Scenarios in Primary Care

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