The COVID-19 pandemic has shone new light on the importance of genomic sequencing in understanding pathogens and controlling the spread of disease. Harnessing the transformative power of this technology – in response to SARS-CoV-2 but also in anticipation of the next pandemic – requires the active engagement from a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including hospitals, academic medical centers and research laboratories, industry partners and public health labs.
ASM is announcing an initial 3-pronged effort to convene stakeholders to help advance sequencing and tracking of variants and ultimately use the information to make clinical and public health decisions.
- In the coming weeks, ASM will launch a stakeholder initiative, pulling together top scientists, industry innovators,and government and policy leaders to collaborate and address the central role of genomic sequencing in pandemic response.
- ASM will engage a global audience through a Town Hall meeting at the World Microbe Forum in June 2021, including ALL stakeholders to facilitate coordination among government and private sector partners.
- ASM has established a working group of leading experts in clinical microbiology and public health laboratories to formulate a multi-year vision for ensuring that every patient has access to optimal infectious diseases diagnostics and detecting emerging pathogens for every population.
ASM CEO Stefano Bertuzzi has asked Dr. Melissa Miller, chair of ASM’s Clinical Public Health and Microbiology Committee, to lead this working group. ASM is convinced that the active engagement of all stakeholders will be essential to shape the diagnostic laboratory of the future and ensure robust infrastructure in advanced molecular diagnostics to the benefit of all.
ASM has been and continues to work with academic, health care, non-profit and industry partners to advance Congressional efforts resulting in a transformative investment of $1.75 billion in the Advanced Molecular Detection program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This funding would not be possible without the action of these partners and Congressional champions. ASM now stands ready to work with these partners to help chart a course for the genomic sequencing envisioned with the passage of this funding.
Today, clinical microbiology is part of an unprecedented endeavor to improve public health, establish stronger connections with public health labs, hospitals, industry and government partners to drive U.S. next generation sequencing strategies. This will undoubtedly be a multi-year effort including many activities ranging from:
- professional development and training
- outcome studies
- industry engagement
Given the continuing innovation around sequencing and data analysis, the private sector will be a key part of this effort. ASM will work with its Corporate Council members and AMD industry partners and leverage meetings like Clin Micro Open, ASM’s platform for collaboration with the clinical laboratory directors and industry.
As the federal government ramps up its efforts implement nationwide solutions in genomic sequencing, ASM stands ready to utilize its platforms to coordinate with and convene a broad spectrum of stakeholders.