Thermo Fisher launches novel software platform for identifying microbial pathogens

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  • Published: Jul 21, 2015
  • Author: Jon Evans
  • Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Suppliers: Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Channels: Electrophoresis / Proteomics & Genomics / Base Peak

Through a partnership with the Special Bacteriology Reference Laboratory at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed a software platform that allows global public health laboratories to access the CDC’s MicrobeNet online virtual reference lab database. Rather than referring to multiple databases, researchers will now be able to identify microbial pathogens potentially at the root of global outbreaks by utilizing a single database curated by subject matter experts in the field.

Thermo Fisher’s new 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 allows 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 McQuiston, 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.’

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