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Understanding how human genetics influence infectious disease susceptibility offers the opportunity for new insights into pathogenesis, potential drug targets, risk stratification, response to therapy and vaccination. As new infectious diseases continue to emerge, together with growing levels of antimicrobial resistance and an increasing awareness of substantial differences between populations in genetic associations, the need for such work is expanding. In this Review, we illustrate how our understanding of the host-pathogen relationship is advancing through holistic approaches, describing current strategies to investigate the role of host genetic variation in established and emerging infections, including COVID-19, the need for wider application to diverse global populations mirroring the burden of disease, the impact of pathogen and vector genetic diversity and a broad array of immune and inflammation phenotypes that can be mapped as traits in health and disease. Insights from study of inborn errors of immunity and multi-omics profiling together with developments in analytical methods are further advancing our knowledge of this important area.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature reviews. Genetics

Publication Date



Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.