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OpGen Creates Public Health Consortium to Evaluate its Technology for Use in Health Outbreaks

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – OpGen today announced the creation of a public health consortium to evaluate its Whole Genome Mapping technology for strain typing microorganisms that cause health outbreaks.

Members of the consortium are the Association of Public Health Laboratories; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences; and 11 state public health laboratories.

The consortium's aim is to show that OpGen's Whole Genome Mapping is a more effective genomic analysis technology for outbreak analysis.

A rise in food-borne illnesses and hospital-acquired infections leading to disease outbreaks has heightened the need for better methods of identifying the disease-causing agents so that outbreaks can be controlled, the firm noted.

Current genotyping technologies, such as pulse field gel electrophoresis, provide only limited information for microbial strain typing, OpGen said. Its technology, it added, provides rapid and comprehensive structural analysis of microbial genomes, and combined with sequencing, a new genetic analysis workflow is enabled that more accurately detects genetic elements associated with virulence and drug resistance.

Its Whole Genome Map data can guide sequencing of specific regions in a genome to improve response management during the early stage of an outbreak, the Gaithersburg, Md.-based firm said.

Scott Becker, executive director of APHL, said in a statement, "Public health laboratories operate as a first line of defense to protect the public against diseases and other health hazards, and as such we need to be using cutting-edge technologies to identify, address, and protect the public from health risks."

Two weeks ago, OpGen said it was collaborating with In-Q-Tel to develop a high-throughput sequence and genome mapping pipeline for microbial genome analysis.

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