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Our work uses modern genomic approaches applied to large-scale cohorts to answer multiple questions relating to susceptibility to, and outcomes with infectious disease. I am an infectious disease physician working in Oxford Universities NHS Foundation Trust and I am involved in the recruitment and analysis of multiple cohorts including the Biorepository for Adult Infectious Disease, UK Biobank, the VaccGene consortium and the Mexico Biobank. Our work is driven by the observation that genome-wide association studies of infectious disease susceptibility have identified fewer novel associations than expected compared to other auto-immune traits. These apparent shortcomings can be attributed to multiple reasons including differential exposure to infectious agents, substantial microbial heterogeneity and diverse population structures in those populations suffering the greatest burden of infectious disease. We use several methods to tackle these problems including the use of multiplexed antibody profiling of responses to infections as proxy markers of infectious disease, comprehensive population substructure analysis and detailed phenotyping using biochemical assays. We use these methods for multiple infections including herpes, papilloma and hepatitis virus infections, whooping cough, malaria and more recently coronavirus. Our ultimate goal is to use the findings from our work to improve the health of populations affected by infection.

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