Thermo Fisher partners with CDC to aid public health labs

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

Thermo Fisher partners with CDC to aid public health labs

Related tags Public health Epidemiology Bacteria

Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed new software via a partnership with the Special Bacteriology Reference Laboratory at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that helps public health labs to more quickly identify microbial pathogens potentially at the root of global outbreaks. 

The MicrobeBridge software helps researchers directly access the CDC’s MicrobeNet online virtual reference lab database without referring to multiple databases, and is designed to seamlessly connect Sanger sequencing results to the MicrobeNet database.

The initial users of this software will be the state public health labs, followed by the public health labs across the globe that are doing public health surveillance of microbes​,” Thermo Fisher spokesman Mauricio Minota told us. “There are over 3,000 bacteria in the CDC's MicrobeNet and MicrobeBridge will allow identification of any of these bacteria: including but not limited to contaminated food, hospital acquired illness, etc.  We have the reagent required for 16s sequencing already available and we are collaborating with the CDC to see what their timing would be for implementation​.” 

MicrobeBridge also integrates with all Applied Biosystems Capillary Electrophoresis instruments and automates the assembly and QC (quality control) of raw Sanger sequencing data into a searchable format in the MicrobeNet database, which can minimize the effort required to match and positively identify specimens.

Expanding MicrobeNet will allow public health laboratories anywhere in the world to run sequence-based, phenotypic or eventually other tests and match results against a highly curated database comprised of our unique collection of pathogens​,” said John McQuiston, Team Lead, Special Bacteriology Reference Laboratory at the CDC.

Currently, analyzing sequencing data is fragmented over multiple software tools. MicrobeBridge enables researchers to access more easily the public health information stored in MicrobeNet and informs laboratory-based surveillance and the general understanding of disease outbreaks.

DNA-based microbial identification has become an invaluable tool for public health scientists to identify and track infectious disease outbreaks​,” said Dan Didier, director of Public Health at Thermo Fisher. “Yet data analysis has slowed the ability of public health laboratories to act swiftly. MicrobeBridge overcomes that hurdle and equips researchers with technology that helps them to respond more quickly to pathogens that threaten human health​.”

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