Managing the Transition to Widespread Metagenomic Monitoring: Policy Considerations for Future Biosurveillance

Health Security, Vol. 21, No. 1. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/hs.2022.0029

19 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2022 Last revised: 27 Jun 2023

See all articles by Chelsea Liang

Chelsea Liang

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Computer Science & Engineering

James Wagstaff

University of Oxford - Future of Humanity Institute

Virginia Schmit

1Day Sooner

Noga Aharony

Columbia University - Department of Systems Biology

David Manheim

Association for Long Term Existence and Resilience (ALTER); Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Date Written: February 1, 2022

Abstract

Despite extensive discussion of the technological possibilities and public health importance of metagenomic sequencing, there has been scant discussion of what policy and regulatory issues need to be addressed to realize the potential of metagenomic sequencing . Here we review the current state of biosurveillance, and point to several ways future metagenomic monitoring may replace currently limited infectious disease monitoring models. We suggest that while many key enablers are technological, others are not. We therefore highlight key policy challenges and implementation questions which need to be addressed in order for the world to reach a state of ‘Widespread Metagenomic Monitoring’. We find that policymakers must address pitfalls like fragmentation of the technological base, private capture of benefits, privacy concerns, the usefulness of the system during non-pandemic times, and how the future systems will enable better response. If these challenges are addressed, the technological and public health promise of metagenomic sequencing can be realized.

Keywords: metagenomic sequencing, health policy, biosurveillance, disease x, pandemic preparedness, technology planning

JEL Classification: I18, Z18

Suggested Citation

Liang, Chelsea and Wagstaff, James and Schmit, Virginia and Aharony, Noga and Manheim, David, Managing the Transition to Widespread Metagenomic Monitoring: Policy Considerations for Future Biosurveillance (February 1, 2022). Health Security, Vol. 21, No. 1. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/hs.2022.0029, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4019082 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4019082

Chelsea Liang

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Computer Science & Engineering ( email )

High St
Kensington, NSW 2052
Australia

James Wagstaff

University of Oxford - Future of Humanity Institute ( email )

Suite 8, Littlegate House
16/17 St Ebbe's Street
Oxford, OX1 1PT
United Kingdom

Virginia Schmit

1Day Sooner ( email )

DE
United States

Noga Aharony

Columbia University - Department of Systems Biology ( email )

College of Physicians and Surgeons
630 West 168th Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 3-470
New York, NY 10032
United States

David Manheim (Contact Author)

Association for Long Term Existence and Resilience (ALTER) ( email )

HaBesht
20/5
Rehovot, 7621032
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://https://alter.org.il

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology ( email )

Israel

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