Discovery Award Winner

About this entry

The Oxford team has an ongoing research program related to whole genome sequencing (WGS) of clinical samples, and have recently shown that it is possible to generate full diagnostic information for TB via WGS. This can be done using WGS from early-positive liquid culture [Votintseva et al, J. Clin Microbiol (2015)] and predicting antibiotic resistance by examining the genome for mutations [Walker et al, Lancet Infect Dis 2015]. They have also shown that these methods can be applied routinely in a public health laboratory (Pankhurst et al, Lancet Resp. Med 2016). Further developments include automated species-identification and antibiotic resistance prediction [Bradley et al, Nature Comms 2015], producing a tool “Mykrobe predictor” that transforms sequencing data to an accessible and interpretable clinical report. They are leading a multimillion pound consortium to determine sufficient resistance-causing mutations in TB to explain >99% of resistance. Most recently, they have developed a cheap and rapid method for sequencing M. tuberculosis direct from sputum, entirely avoiding the culture process, and using a portable “nanopore” sequencing device. We are seeking to turn this into a rapid automated diagnostic. The team collaborates with Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

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