Solomon Langat of the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kenya will develop a targeted viral enrichment protocol to improve the sensitivity of metagenomic sequencing for detecting known and novel vector-borne and viral hemorrhagic fever viruses. Infectious disease outbreaks caused by arboviruses and other viral infectious pathogens are common, particularly in Kenya. Current methods for diagnosing these infections have limited sensitivity and only detect known pathogens. In contrast, high-throughput sequencing and metagenomics can broaden detection capabilities to unknown pathogens and is also a rapid approach for monitoring outbreaks in real time. However, background noise from host nucleic acids can limit its sensitivity. They will design broadly-targeting hybridization probes to capture entire families of viruses before sequencing to improve the sensitivity of detection and test them on confirmed positive and negative samples. They will also use their method on samples from the ongoing national arbovirus surveillance program.
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