Ten recommendations for supporting open pathogen genomic analysis in public health settings

Black A, MacCannell DR, Sibley TR, Bedford T, on behalf of the Public Health Alliance for Genomic Epidemiology (PHA4GE). 2020. Preprints: 2020010107.


Public health agencies are increasingly using pathogen whole genome sequencing (WGS) to support surveillance and epidemiologic investigations. As access to WGS has grown, greater amounts of molecular data have helped improve our ability to detect outbreaks, investigate transmission chains, and explore large-scale population dynamics, such as the spread of antibiotic resistance. However, the wide adoption of WGS also poses challenges due to the amount of data generated and the need to transform raw data prior to analysis. This complexity means that public health agencies may need more advanced computational infrastructure, a broader technical workforce, and new approaches to data management and stewardship. As both a guide for how this development could occur, and a place to initiate discussion, we describe ten proposals for developing and supporting an informatics infrastructure for public health.