The application of genomics – the study of an organism’s full set of genes and how they function – in healthcare may have started in oncology, but it is expanding into many other areas as the cost of sequencing continues to plummet and researchers gather more data, uncovering genetic markers for all kinds of different diseases.
The role genomics plays during the coronavirus pandemic provides a window to this relatively new field and how it is transforming healthcare. As we have seen during this period, genomics allows us to understand disease and the human body in a new level of detail. Understanding how the virus is spreading around the world in real time enables governments to take action to limit its transmission, such as requiring travelers to self-isolate. Frequent genome sequencing also means mutations to the virus, that might render vaccines ineffective, can be detected early and hopefully eliminated.
However, what we have seen through the lens of COVID-19 just scratches the surface of genomics. As genomics is applied in ever more diverse ways and leads us towards predictive and personalised healthcare, new risks must be addressed.
Read the “Fighting COVID-19 with Genomics” report to understand the impact genomics is having on healthcare not only during pandemic times, but also how it is gradually redefining the sector behind the scenes, with potentially big implications for drug company liability.
Read more reports in the ‘Life Science in the era of pandemics’ series:
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