Home » Infectious Diseases » Improving patients’ medical course and reducing AMR with NGS and digital pathogen detection

Dr med, Klaus Rensing, MBA

VP Medical Affairs, Noscendo

Digital pathogen detection and NGS technology can quickly and accurately pinpoint the cause of infection, so patients can quickly receive more targeted and effective therapies.

“Microbiological diagnostics in medicine are complex and diverse,” explains Dr med. Klaus Rensing, MBA, VP Medical Affairs at Noscendo, a provider of software-based pathogen identification technology. “Meaning, pathogens that cause sometimes life-threatening infections can be extremely difficult to identify.”

Pathogen detection and diagnostic challenges

That’s a serious problem because, in severe cases, clinicians may need to make educated guesses for the most effective therapy without fully understanding the infection’s cause due to time constraints. Meanwhile, a blood culture is sent to a lab for analysis so that this suspected diagnosis can either be confirmed — or ruled out.

Pathogens that cause sometimes life-threatening
infections can be extremely difficult to identify.

However, conventional diagnostic methods based on blood cultures can take over a week and may only identify a limited set of pathogens. Plus, studies show they are only positive in up to 30% of cases. During this time, if unsuitable therapy is started, the patient’s condition could deteriorate. Alternatively, incorrect diagnosis may lead to unnecessary antibiotic use, fuelling antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

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New digital method for pathogen detection

Yet, all that could change, thanks to digital pathogen detection technology developed by Noscendo. With next-generation sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatics, this disruptive new IT innovation — which is a CE-IVD and is used by institutions around the world — can analyse and identify 1,500 pathogens (including bacteria, DNA viruses, fungi and parasites) within 24 hours. Quicker results equal better outcomes for patients, insists Dr Rensing.

“Faster diagnostics that accurately pinpoint the cause of non-specific symptoms allow for more targeted and effective anti-infective therapies to be given to the patient,” he says. “Or, if therapy has already begun, it can be adapted or changed entirely to more precisely fight the cause of infection.” Tailored treatment prevents unnecessary administration of less effective therapies on one side or broad-spectrum antibiotics that might not be needed on the other side.

Although digital pathogen detection is in its infancy, Dr Rensing expects next-generation sequencing and IT-based analysis to be the future of infectious disease diagnostics. “It’s fascinating technology,” he says. “I believe that within 10 years, it will be a standard tool for faster, clearer microbiological diagnosis.”

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