Qatar University (QU) Biomedical Research Centre organised a workshop on “Viral Genomics and Bioinformatics” recently.
The event was conducted by Dr Hebah AlKhatib from Qatar University, with the support of Qatar Genome Programme, and the sponsorship from Qatar Scientific Company.
The training consisted of a series of lectures and hand-on sessions, to provide the participants with basic knowledge on viral genome sequencing and data analysis.
Participants learnt to analyse large sequencing datasets using graphical user interface programmes as well as command-line tools. In addition to gaining knowledge and skills, the workshop aims to provide an environment for exchanging ideas and developing future collaborative projects between different stakeholders interested in virology research in Qatar. The trainees represented different institutions and stakeholders in Qatar.
The continuous emergence of new viruses such as the recent SARS-CoV-2, along with the ongoing evolution of new viral strains, raises the alarm about the importance of preparedness planning, and building knowledge to ensure effective responses to emerging infectious diseases.
In Qatar, where 1.5mn visitors are expected to enter the country during the coming World Cup 2022, in addition to the heavy influx of foreign labour, it is even more challenging to monitor and control the spread of viruses.
Currently, one of the critical arms of the global response to understand and tackle emerging viruses is viral genome sequencing. In fact, genomic sequencing enabled the world to rapidly identify SARS-CoV-2 and develop suitable diagnostic markers and vaccines.