Preliminary data from Ion PGM sequencer reveals German E. coli outbreak is a new hybrid strain

Life Technologies Corporation today announced that preliminary data from DNA sequencing performed in cooperation with the University Hospital Muenster, Germany, on the Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM™) strongly suggests that the bacterium at the root of the deadly outbreak in Germany is a new hybrid type of pathogenic E. coli strains.

The data obtained from the DNA sequencer shows the presence of genes typically found in two different types of E. coli: enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). These results, which are being confirmed by further data analysis on the Ion PGM™, may provide insight into this bacterium's aggressiveness and help prevent further outbreaks.

"The rapid whole genome sequencing results enabled us to discover within days a unique combination of virulence traits ... and makes this German outbreak clone a unique hybrid of different E. coli pathovars," said Dr. med. Alexander Mellmann, scientist at the German National Consulting Laboratory for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) at the Institute of Hygiene, University Hospital Muenster.

The data gathered at Life Technologies' laboratories in Darmstadt, Germany, will be used by scientists at the University Hospital Muenster, to develop better tests to positively identify the illness in people showing symptoms of the infection, which includes kidney failure and bloody diarrhea. For the first time since the outbreak, it is now possible to study in detail the basis for what makes this strain so aggressive.

Life Technologies' Simone Guenther, Ph.D., who carried out the sequencing work, said: "The severity of this outbreak meant that speed was of the essence. We were able to provide the data in record time to University Hospital Muenster. In previous outbreaks it would have taken much longer to reach this stage."

SOURCE Life Technologies Corporation

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