Research update for improving diagnostics for Tick-Borne Disease with genetic sequencing.
We proposed to develop a comprehensive method for detection of infectious diseases of dogs, taking the guesswork out of determining which tests to use for diagnosis, and potentially improving disease surveillance because of the comprehensive nature of the test. This method takes advantage of the amount of data that can be generated with next-generation sequencing (NGS) but will be performed in a way to keep costs down and maintain adequate turn-around time for diagnostic use. We proposed a combined PCR/NGS method called targeted NGS. We began development of this assay with a small internal grant and with this funding generously provided by AKC CHF, we will build on this assay by including additional targets, particularly for vector-borne pathogens. To date, we have found regions in the sequences of these pathogens that can be used for assay development. We have sent the sequences to a company and are using their proprietary pipeline for assay design. We are waiting on the original design and will further evaluate for assay specificity using a publicly available sequence database for comparison. Once the design portion of the study is complete, we will be able to proceed with the other aims put forth in the grant. We are also in the process of hiring a postdoc to help with the work, as described in the grant. We are grateful for the support and look forward to moving past this design phase and onto the bench work portion of the study.