Perspective | Published:

Precision epidemiology for infectious disease control


Advances in genomics and computing are transforming the capacity for the characterization of biological systems, and researchers are now poised for a precision-focused transformation in the way they prepare for, and respond to, infectious diseases. This includes the use of genome-based approaches to inform molecular diagnosis and individual-level treatment regimens. In addition, advances in the speed and granularity of pathogen genome generation have improved the capability to track and understand pathogen transmission, leading to potential improvements in the design and implementation of population-level public health interventions. In this Perspective, we outline several trends that are driving the development of precision epidemiology of infectious disease and their implications for scientists’ ability to respond to outbreaks.

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O.G.P. is supported by the Oxford Martin School. K.G.A. is a Pew Biomedical Scholar and is supported by NIH NCATS CTSA UL1TR001114, NIAID HHSN272201400048C, NIAID R21AI137690, NIAID U19AI135995, and The Ray Thomas Foundation. J.T.L. is supported by the State of Arizona Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF), administered by the Arizona Board of Regents, through Northern Arizona University.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Correspondence to Kristian G. Andersen.

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Fig. 1: Pathogen sequencing during infectious disease outbreaks can inform precise interventions.