Mayo Clinic scientists are building an expansive library of DNA blueprints of disease-causing bacterial species. The unique collection of genomic sequences is serving as a reference database to help doctors provide rapid and precise diagnoses and pinpoint targeted treatments to potentially improve patient outcomes.
The vast data set is also being studied by researchers in an effort to develop new individualized treatments to combat bacteria-related diseases.
Bacterial infections were linked to more than 7 million global deaths in 2019. Of those, nearly 1.3 million were the direct result of drug-resistant bacteria, according to the National Institutes of Health.
"We are developing the Bacterial Whole Genome Sequencing Database because our laboratory regularly encounters unidentifiable bacterial isolates in clinical practice, with the challenge fueled by the evolving antimicrobial resistance crisis," says Robin Patel, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic's Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory. "Not knowing a bacterial sequence creates a dilemma for us when we're trying to determine what's happening with a patient."
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