Highlights from our Mini Symposium on Next Generation Sequencing for the diagnosis and surveillance of infectious diseases and antimicrobial drug resistance!

Genome sequencing is one of the many novel tools that support our fight against AMR, TB and other infectious diseases. It has the potential to be an all-in-one test for the identification, typing and drug susceptibility-testing.

On Wednesday 6 of June, we shared stage with experts from RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and Radboudumc to discuss novel developments in the field of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and its future for tuberculosis (TB) and other infectious diseases, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR)!

The Mini Symposium was held both online and in person at Het Nutshuis in the Hague, with the following presenters:

  • Richard Anthony, Head of National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory at RIVM, presenting “Experience with whole genome sequencing for tuberculosis at RIVM, use for surveillance and prediction of drug susceptibility”.
  • Jakko van Ingen, Associate professor at Radboudumc, presenting “Next-generation sequencing of Mycobacteria”.
  • Fabian Landman, Research assistant at RIVM, presenting “Use of nanopore sequencing for AMR surveillance”.
  • Kristin Kremer, Team Lead of Diagnostics at KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, presenting “Utility of nanopore sequencing with MinION devices for the diagnosis and surveillance of infectious diseases”.
  • Andrii Slyzkyi, Laboratory Consultant at KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, presenting “Demonstration of nanopore sequencing with MinION sequencing device”.

During the session we deepened our understanding of the impact that NGS entails for TB programs and clinical settings. With the goal in mind to end TB by 2030, one of the ambitions is to eliminate transmission of TB, initially at a local level to move towards a reduction of transmission at the international level.

Current work carried out by the experts reflects on the implications of NGS in clinical settings, and the provision of faster and accurate second line of treatment for people with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). The need for fast, accurate and flexible diagnostic solutions is guiding the efforts to tackle a common challenge in the infectious diseases field: integrated diagnostic platforms for comprehensive approaches that are financially sustainable and widely regulation-proof.

Lastly, we also discussed the use of MinION, a portable nanopore sequencing device, and platforms that can leverage multipurpose processing for the improvement of diagnosis, prevention and treatment of TB and other infectious diseases, and the reduction of AMR.

KNCV has been fighting TB since its establishment in 1903. Over the past 120 years, the organization has acquired indispensable knowledge and experience in the field of effective TB prevention and care, resulting in pre-elimination in the Netherlands and significant contributions to global evidence generation, policy development and TB program implementation worldwide.

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