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Open Access Technical advance

An easy operating pathogen microarray (EOPM) platform for rapid screening of vertebrate pathogens

Weiwei Huang1, Yinhui Yang2, Xinlei Zhang3, Changan Zhao4, Aihua Yin4, Xiaozhuang Zhang4, Zhengxin He5, Yongqiang Jiang2* and Liang Zhang1*

Author Affiliations

1 BioChain (Beijing) Science & Technology Inc., No.7A, Yongchang North Rd, Business Development Area, Beijing 100176, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Pathogens and Biosecurity, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing 100071, China

3 Beijing Genestone Biocomputing Corporation, Beijing 100101, China

4 Guangdong Women and Children’s Hospital, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510010, China

5 Department of Clinical Laboratory, Bethune International Peace Hospital of PLA, Shijiazhuang, Hebei 050082, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:437  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-437

Published: 20 September 2013

Abstract

Background

Infectious diseases emerge frequently in China, partly because of its large and highly mobile population. Therefore, a rapid and cost-effective pathogen screening method with broad coverage is required for prevention and control of infectious diseases. The availability of a large number of microbial genome sequences generated by conventional Sanger sequencing and next generation sequencing has enabled the development of a high-throughput high-density microarray platform for rapid large-scale screening of vertebrate pathogens.

Methods

An easy operating pathogen microarray (EOPM) was designed to detect almost all known pathogens and related species based on their genomic sequences. For effective identification of pathogens from EOPM data, a statistical enrichment algorithm has been proposed, and further implemented in a user-friendly web-based interface.

Results

Using multiple probes designed to specifically detect a microbial genus or species, EOPM can correctly identify known pathogens at the species or genus level in blinded testing. Despite a lower sensitivity than PCR, EOPM is sufficiently sensitive to detect the predominant pathogens causing clinical symptoms. During application in two recent clinical infectious disease outbreaks in China, EOPM successfully identified the responsible pathogens.

Conclusions

EOPM is an effective surveillance platform for infectious diseases, and can play an important role in infectious disease control.