GenOMICC is a research study which aims to unite clinicians and scientists from around the world to find the genetic factors that determine outcome in critical illness. Infectious diseases affect millions of people around the world every year. Most cases are mild, but some people become very unwell and are admitted to intensive care. Our genes (DNA) can determine how much critical illness affects us. We want to find the genes that cause some people to be more sick by comparing the DNA of critically-ill patients with members of the general population. By finding these genes, we may be able to develop better treatments for patients in the future.
There are millions of DNA sequence differences between any two humans, any of which could be important in determining the outcome in sepsis. Finding the genes that matter requires us to recruit large numbers of patients. Typically, we need to find thousands of patients in order to find genetic associations with disease. Because the patients we need to study are rare, we need to recruit over a large area, and for a long time, to acquire the necessary DNA. This requires global collaboration among critical care doctors, openness and sharing of data between researchers, and an innovative approach to funding. Since 2015 GenOMICC has been working with our partners to recruit patients and healthy volunteers in order to study emerging infections (SARS/MERS/Flu), sepsis, and other forms of critical illness. It is the largest study of its kind anywhere in the world.