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Unlocking the pandemic puzzle to help save lives

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27th September, 2022

Our genomics team has used cutting edge technology and expertise to help keep us safe through COVID-19.

NSW Health Pathology’s Insti­tute of Clin­i­cal Pathol­o­gy and Med­ical Research (ICPMR) genomics team has worked tire­less­ly through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team uses cut­ting edge tech­nol­o­gy and exper­tise to deliv­er sci­en­tif­ic break­throughs that have pro­vid­ed the cor­ner­stone of dis­ease detec­tion and man­age­ment to keep us safe.

Their efforts through­out the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic have saved thou­sands of lives, pre­vent­ed fur­ther out­breaks and recent­ly saw the ICPMR team recog­nised with the NSW Health Secretary’s Award for Inte­grat­ed Val­ue Based Care.

NSW Health Pathology’s ICPMR team at West­mead Hos­pi­tal con­ducts world-class pub­lic health and research, work­ing close­ly with col­leagues at the West­mead Insti­tute of Med­ical Research, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Syd­ney and the West­ern Syd­ney Local Health District.

Togeth­er, their com­bined research made it pos­si­ble to allow trac­ing of COVID-19 trans­mis­sion, fast iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of vari­ants of con­cern and time­ly detec­tion of drug resis­tance in new vari­ants as they emerged dur­ing the peak of the pandemic.

At its core, this work was about col­lab­o­ra­tion, tak­ing inno­v­a­tive lab­o­ra­to­ry work and pulling togeth­er dif­fer­ent pieces of health data to dis­cov­er new ways to con­trol the world-chang­ing pan­dem­ic as it happened.

ICPMR’s genom­ic epi­demi­ol­o­gist, Dr Ali­cia Arnott, said “We’ve pulled togeth­er as a team and under­tak­en some­thing that had­n’t been done in NSW before to inform pan­dem­ic con­trol and responses”.

NSW Health Pathology’s Direc­tor of Pub­lic Health Pathol­o­gy and ICPMR, Pro­fes­sor Dominic Dwyer, said “this has been the biggest emer­gency in infec­tious dis­eases for the last 100 years. We’re talk­ing about mil­lions and mil­lions of infec­tions around the world. This work has been crit­i­cal­ly important”.

Pro­fes­sor Dwyer describes the award-win­ning ICPMR genomics team as “the unsung heroes”.

“There are a lot of peo­ple doing a lot of work and a lot of hours to ben­e­fit the health of peo­ple in NSW and keep our com­mu­ni­ty safe.”


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