Exploring the Potential Use of Next Generation Sequencing for Molecular Characterization of Infectious Causes of Stillbirths and Neonatal Death
Shabir Madhi, Vicky Lynne Baillie, and Courtney Paige Olwagen of Wits Health Consortium in South Africa will use next generation sequencing to identify pathogenic causes of neonatal deaths and stillbirths to help develop new treatments such as vaccines and better prevent disease spread. There are around 2.5 million neonatal deaths annually, and an estimated 2.6 million stillbirths, the vast majority of which occur in low- to middle-income countries. Conventional assays have recently indicated that infectious diseases cause far more of these neonatal deaths and stillbirths than previously thought. They also revealed a worryingly high proportion caused by multi-drug resistant, hospital-acquired infections. They will apply a next generation sequencing approach to 80 archived blood samples from stillbirths obtained in an earlier study and analyze the results using the Global IDseq software platform to identify any novel or unculturable or untargeted pathogens that were not identified using the more traditional microbiological methods. They will also use in silico approaches to analyze virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance profiles of identified pathogens.