Challenges and Opportunities for Global Genomic Surveillance Strategies in the COVID-19 Era

Ted Ling-Hu, Estefany Rios-Guzman, Ramon Lorenzo-Redondo, Egon A. Ozer, Judd F. Hultquist

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Global SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance efforts have provided critical data on the ongoing evolution of the virus to inform best practices in clinical care and public health throughout the pandemic. Impactful genomic surveillance strategies generally follow a multi-disciplinary pipeline involving clinical sample collection, viral genotyping, metadata linkage, data reporting, and public health responses. Unfortunately, current limitations in each of these steps have compromised the overall effectiveness of these strategies. Biases from convenience-based sampling methods can obfuscate the true distribution of circulating variants. The lack of standardization in genotyping strategies and bioinformatic expertise can create bottlenecks in data processing and complicate interpretation. Limitations and inconsistencies in clinical and demographic data collection and sharing can slow the compilation and limit the utility of comprehensive datasets. This likewise can complicate data reporting, restricting the availability of timely data. Finally, gaps and delays in the implementation of genomic surveillance data in the public health sphere can prevent officials from formulating effective mitigation strategies to prevent outbreaks. In this review, we outline current SARS-CoV-2 global genomic surveillance methods and assess roadblocks at each step of the pipeline to identify potential solutions. Evaluating the current obstacles that impede effective surveillance can improve both global coordination efforts and pandemic preparedness for future outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2532
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 16 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • epidemiology
  • genomic surveillance
  • global health
  • molecular surveillance
  • public health intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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