A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) details the design and validation of a low-cost, rapid, and highly accurate screening tool -- known as KlebSeq -- for potentially deadly healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), such as Klebsiella pneumoniae. The study results were published online on September 2, 2016 in the Journal of Clinical Microbioogy. The open-access article is titled “KlebSeq: A Diagnostic Tool for Surveillance, Detection, and Monitoring of Klebsiella pneumoniae.” HAIs affect hundreds of thousands of patients annually and add nearly $10 billion in associated healthcare costs. The new findings detail the workings of the KlebSeq test at detecting HAIs earlier, in particular Klebsiella, which has multiple strains, such as ST258, that are increasingly resistant to treatment by antibiotics. Unlike traditional assays that require growing a live culture in a laboratory setting, which adds days to the testing process and layers on cost, KlebSeq employs a technique called amplicon sequencing that identifies the presence of Klebsiella and stratifies its characteristics, such as strain type and whether it may be antibiotic resistant. "KlebSeq is able to accurately and consistently identify and characterize Klebsiella from many different types of specimen samples, including blood, urine, nasal swabs, and respiratory fluids," said Dr. Jolene Bowers, a Post-Doctoral fellow in TGen's Pathogen Genomics Division, TGen North, and the paper's first author. In 2015, DR. Bowers co-led a study published in PLOS ONE, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which documented the rapid global spread of ST258.
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