VirusID: virus detection with "Next Generation Sequencing"

VirusID: virus detection with "Next Generation Sequencing"

Viruses cause infectious diseases. Furthermore, they cause millions of Euros of damage when they contaminate drug production material, such as in CHO cell lines used to produce therapeutic proteins. Current methods to detect viruses in samples rely on assays that detect single known viruses: monitoring multiple viruses requires multiple assays and detecting new/rapidily evolving viruses is often problematic. Next generation sequencing of cellular nucleic acids is an approach to unbiasedly determine the DNA and RNA content within cells. We have demonstrated successful detection of viruses within host tissues, including specific virus detection and identification of virus mutations.


This project will determine the specificity and sensitivity of the method to detect a diverse set of virus. Further development will increase sensitivity and specificity, and decrease the assay time and cost. This will lead to a diagnostic platform to identify and characterize viruses in host tissue; an important issue both to identify contaminants in materials (cell lines) used the production of therapeutic products, including immunotherpaies, and to identify infectious agents in patients. 


The goal is to develop and deliver a diagnostic platform to unbiasedly detect viruses in mammalian cells, including virus contamination in protein product cells lines and viruses present in patient samples for diagnostic use. The project will (1) establish the sensitivity and specificity of next-generation sequencing (NGS) to detect virus RNA in host tissue, (2) further develop methods as necessary, and (3) establish an operational process to profile customer samples for virus RNA, from sample-in to report-out.