Chhorvann Chhea of the National Institute of Public Health in Cambodia will expand Cambodia’s Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) surveillance network by integrating metagenomic next-generation sequencing to better diagnose and monitor severe respiratory infections. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death globally in children under five years old, with the majority of severe cases classified as viral. To successfully develop treatments and vaccines, a comprehensive understanding of viral genetic diversity is required; however, this remains largely uncatalogued for common respiratory viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). They will collect oropharyngeal swabs, blood culture isolates, or lower respiratory tract samples from adults and children with SARI at nine sites. They will extract RNA and leverage pandemic sequencing infrastructure for sequencing, taxonomic identification and phylogenetic analyses to guide molecular epidemiology and outbreak investigations. The data will be integrated with a country-wide genomic surveillance strategy, currently under development.
This grant is one of three grants that are funded and administered by the Programme for Research in Epidemic Preparedness and Response (PREPARE) in Singapore.