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Universal Pathogen Detection in Post Mortem Tissues

Robert Schlaberg from the University of Utah in the U.S. will develop an approach that can detect all viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites in post-mortem samples in order to identify the cause of death and inform disease-control efforts. Determining whether a specific pathogen caused the death of an individual is difficult with current methods partly because of the wide variety of pathogens and the potential for contamination of the tissues. They have developed an analysis tool - Taxonomer - that can identify individual pathogens from sequencing RNA in tissues. They will optimize these methods for post-mortem tissues, which contain fragmented RNA, and test them on known positive post-mortem tissues and fluids. They will also develop an approach that can use post-mortem samples to differentiate between death caused by infectious agents versus non-infectious causes by analyzing samples for specific immune responses that are linked to a range of infections.

More information about Explore New Solutions in Global Health Priority Areas (Round 16)

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