A multi city consortium for developing pathogen surveillance programs

Public health surveillance systems must generate disease information that drives action, and these data must be of sufficient quality, quantity and resolution to reduce disease burden.

TIGS is a key partner in a unique pan-India initiative for environmental surveillance and developing innovative strategies for pathogen monitoring. A consortium of four city clusters – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and New Delhi – has been established with generous support and a three-year seed fund from the Rockefeller Foundation. Conceptualized during the pandemic, the consortium has already set up an advanced SARS-CoV-2 surveillance platform, incorporating viral genome sequencing and wastewater based detection and surveillance.

We are currently developing new technologies and disease-agnostic surveillance platforms to monitor and predict the spread of infectious diseases such as respiratory illnesses (COVID-19, influenza, tuberculosis), vector-borne diseases (dengue, chikungunya, scrub typhus etc), and anti-microbial resistance (AMR) in India.

The disease surveillance data will be monitored in real time via shared data pipelines and interactive data dashboards serving researchers and policymakers as well as the general public.

Partners in the Alliance for Pathogen Surveillance Innovations (APSI-India) include Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS) and National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bengaluru, CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and the Ashoka University in Delhi-NCR, Pune Knowledge Cluster, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune and the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) in Hyderabad, along with other academic and clinical partners across the country.

A major outcome of our work in this consortium is to develop sustainable environmental surveillance models that can be handed over to relevant agencies for large scale implementation. By initiating an early warning system at a regional level, this program will be a crucial step towards strengthening the public health surveillance network in India and to mitigate future pandemic risks.

For more details, visit our website: Alliance for Pathogen Surveillance Innovations

Chief Principal Investigator: Rakesh K Mishra
Program Lead: Surabhi Srivastava