Thermo Fisher Scientific, CDC partner to accelerate global microbial identification
Through a partnership with the Special Bacteriology Reference Laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed an advanced software solution that enables global public health laboratories to directly access the CDC’s MicrobeNet online virtual reference lab database. Now, researchers can more quickly identify microbial pathogens potentially at the root of global outbreaks without needing to refer to multiple databases by instead utilizing one curated by subject matter experts in the field.
Thermo Fisher’s MicrobeBridge software platform is designed to seamlessly connect Sanger sequencing results to the MicrobeNet database. Currently, analyzing sequencing data is fragmented over multiple software packages. MicrobeBridge enables researchers to access more easily the public health information stored in MicrobeNet and informs laboratory-based surveillance and the general understanding of disease outbreaks.
“DNA-based microbial identification has become an invaluable tool for public health scientists to identify and track infectious disease outbreaks,” said Dan Didier, director of Public Health at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Yet data analysis has slowed the ability of public health laboratories to act swiftly. MicrobeBridge overcomes that hurdle and equips researchers with technology that helps them to respond more quickly to pathogens that threaten human health.”
MicrobeBridge integrates with all Applied Biosystems Capillary Electrophoresis instruments and automates the assembly and QC of raw Sanger sequencing data into a searchable format in the MicrobeNet database, thus minimizing the effort required to match and positively identify specimens. The company also plans to develop compatible software for Thermo Fisher’s next-generation sequencing and mass spectrometry platforms.
“Expanding MicrobeNet will allow public health laboratories anywhere in the world to run sequence-based, phenotypic or eventually other tests and match results against a highly curated database comprised of our unique collection of pathogens,” said John R. McQuiston, Ph.D., team lead, Special Bacteriology Reference Laboratory, Bacterial Special Pathogens Branch, division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology at the CDC. “With the addition of MicrobeBridge, researchers and public health laboratories will now be able to easily acquire information on thousands of organisms curated by the pathogen subject matter experts at CDC.”