Dear Microbiology Insider,

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced scientists to find novel ways of detecting pathogens and build up a global surveillance infrastructure to monitor emerging threats.

In this edition of the Microbiology Insider, researchers suggest that resource-poor countries with limited access to diagnostic laboratories may be able to leverage metagenomic next-generation sequencing to detect and contribute genetic sequences to the global genomic surveillance of overlooked pathogens.

Having the right diagnostics to meet the clinical need of the patient is important. At the recent Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2022 conference, David Walt, PhD, founder of Illumina and Quanterix, urged attendees to think differently about how diagnostic technologies are engineered. He suggested that the current model needs to be flipped -- that is, the clinical need of the patient must come first, not the technology.

Researchers are still trying to get a handle on how to predict which patients will develop severe COVID-19. One genomic analysis showed that COVID severity is linked to a 27% decreased chance of HIV infection, and another study compared different machine-learning techniques to glean which model could predict COVID-19 severity in patients upon admission to the hospital.

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