OpGen, Inc. announced the formation of a public health consortium to evaluate OpGen's Whole Genome Mapping technology as an enhanced method for strain typing microorganisms that cause disease outbreaks. The consortium is comprised of the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences, and 11 state public health laboratories from across the United States.
The rise in disease outbreaks due to food borne illnesses and hospital acquired infections poses an ongoing threat to public health. Public health officials and healthcare organizations need access to improved first responder technologies to rapidly identify disease causing agents in order to effectively control and contain outbreaks and treat patients. Today's genotyping technologies, such as PFGE, are limited in the type of information they provide for microbial strain typing. OpGen's Whole Genome Mapping technology provides a rapid, comprehensive structural analysis of microbial genomes that, combined with sequencing, provides a new genetic analysis workflow that more accurately detects important genetic elements associated with virulence and drug resistance. The Whole Genome Map data can be used to guide sequencing of these targeted regions to enable more accurate understanding and response management at an early stage in outbreaks. The initial results from the consortium study will be presented on May 20th at the APHL annual meeting in Seattle, WA.
"We are extremely pleased to be working with our consortium partners to evaluate Whole Genome Mapping as an enhanced genetic analysis technology for confirmation and management of disease outbreaks," said Douglas White, chief executive officer of OpGen. "The level of accuracy and discrimination that is achieved by combining Whole Genome Mapping and next generation sequencing can enable a new paradigm for outbreak management."
The purpose of the consortium is to demonstrate the capabilities of Whole Genome Mapping as a more effective genomics analysis technology for outbreak analysis. "Public Health Laboratories operate as a first line of defense to protect the public against diseases and other health hazards, and as such we need to be using cutting-edge technologies to identify, address and protect the public from health risks," said Scott Becker, APHL executive director. "We are pleased to be part of this new consortium that brings together leaders in the public health field to collaborate on the use of new genomic analysis technologies to better identify and manage disease outbreaks."