Hello, welcome to my presentation here at HSTalks.
My name is Simon Tausch,
and the work I'm presenting today was produced at the Robert Koch Institute,
where I was working for the Center for Biological Threats
and Special Pathogens, and also for the bioinformatics division.
The title of the talk is 'PathoLive: Pathogen Detection While Sequencing'.
The aim of the project was to enable medical doctors
to diagnose patients using next-generation sequencing
and to do that in a timely manner,
meaning we are analyzing the data while the sequences are
running to then detect pathogens in metagenomic samples.
The problem we were facing back at my time at
the Robert Koch Institute was that we got many samples
of patients with fever of unknown origin, or
patients with zoonotic infections and that kind of illness.
Generally, diagnostic methods often fail in
these extraordinary cases because
medical doctors do not really know what they are looking for in a sample.
There are some obvious ways of diagnosing a patient when somebody has a
cold, and the doctor can just look at him or her and see the result pretty quickly,
but in more extraordinary cases
it may be more difficult to get a good diagnosis.
This is, as I said,
often the case when we have novel pathogens
which have just emerged and we do not know yet,
or we may have zoonotic agents which also emerge from time to time.
Especially in outbreak situations as we have recently seen in
the huge and very bad Ebola outbreak in Africa,
we need rapid diagnostic systems to tackle those outbreaks in a timely manner.