CDC expanding online germ identification tool

The CDC is growing the reach of its online germ database to allow labs to search for protein signatures of bacteria and compare them to rare pathogens in the CDC database.

The online bacterial identifier is called MircobeNet and was first launched in 2013. Previously, the web-based tool allowed for researchers to search for pathogen information in two ways —DNA sequence and biochemical tests.

The expansion of information is the result of a partnership between CDC and Bruker Corporation. MicrobeNet will now work in tandem with Bruker's MALDO Biotyper system, which identifies the molecular fingerprint of microorganisms. The collaboration will allow researchers to greatly expedite the testing and identification of rare pathogens. The expansion may cut pathogen identification time from approximately one week to a few hours.

"MicrobeNet has the potential to revolutionize public health," said John R. McQuiston, PhD, team lead for CDC's Special Bacteriology Reference Laboratory and the organization's lead for MicrobeNet. "This system helps public health labs and hospitals quickly identify some of the most difficult pathogens to grow and detect. In turn, MicrobeNet will help treat patients faster and allow health departments to respond to public health emergencies more effectively."


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