The group uses sequencing together with informatics tools to spot occurrences of highly virulent or resistant pathogens and implement targeted interventions to prevent their spread.
Resistance to the current antimicrobials is evolving at an alarming rate. 700,000 persons per year dies from resistant infections and it is estimated that this number will rise to 10 million per year in 2050. Resistance may thus develop faster that new drugs can be developed. In a recent report from April 2014, WHO concludes “A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st Century”. It is therefore imperative to prepare for a world where bacterial infections may be deadly and untreatable. Since pre-antibiotic times various approached to hinder spread of infectious diseases have been used, and these approaches should be revisited and updated in light of the technological development in the last 50 years.
We are using sequencing together with informatics tools to spot occurrences of highly virulent or resistant strains and implement targeted interventions to prevent their spread. This will involve bringing genetic epidemiology together with epidemiological modeling, and working closely with hospitals and health authorities involved in disease control.
The aim of the group is to provide the scientific foundation for future internet-based solutions where a central database will enable simplification of total genome sequence information and comparison to all other sequenced including spatial-temporal analysis. We will develop algorithms for rapid analyses of whole genome DNA-sequences, tools for analyses and extraction of information from the sequence data and internet/web-interfaces for using the tools in the global scientific and medical community. The activity is being expanded to also include other microorganisms, such as vira and parasites as well as metagenomic samples.
Center for genomic Epidemiology
Over the last 6 years we have worked on developing a system for surveillance and diagnostics of infectious diseases at the Center for genomic Epidemiology (CGE). The basic aims are to find out what is in a sample (typing), how pathogenic it is, and what the antibiotic resistances profile is (phenotyping). For epidemiological tracing it is furthermore necessary to know how it evolutionarily is related to isolates from other samples. Continue reading
Other research areas
In addition to the genomic epidemiology the group is engaged in other areas of research. These include Protein networks in cancers, development of a recombinant antibody-based treatment of snakebites and analysis of immune responses in HIV infected.