Nguyen Thanh Hung and colleagues in Children’s Hospital 1 in Vietnam will implement next generation sequencing to identify the diverse viral causes of encephalitis in children in Vietnam and develop more accurate and rapid diagnostics to improve clinical outcomes. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain commonly caused by viral infection and is a major contributor to childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide. Treatment requires rapid diagnosis so that the appropriate antimicrobial therapy can be administered. However, traditional diagnostics are inadequate, and identify less than half of cases. Further confounding accurate diagnosis is the emergence of new and diverse pathogens that cause encephalitis. Next generation sequencing could overcome these challenges by more rapidly sequencing viral nucleic acids than previous methods and at lower costs. They will test this at their 1,600-bed hospital located in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam with samples from around 150 children presenting with encephalitis and compare the results with routine diagnostics. Overall, they aim to identify the major causes of encephalitis across Vietnam, map them temporally and spatially, and characterize disease outcomes.
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