September 24, 2023

A brand new examine, ‘Delicate poliovirus detection utilizing nested PCR and nanopore sequencing: a potential validation examine’, printed in the present day (17 August 2023) in Nature Microbiology, proves that utilizing DDNS to detect polio outbreaks can save public well being authorities essential money and time.

This analysis was collectively carried out by researchers on the Institut Nationwide de Recherche Biomédicale in Kinshasa who carried out DDNS within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the detection of polio outbreaks in collaboration with the MHRA, Imperial School London, the College of Edinburgh and varied laboratories of the World Well being Group (WHO) World Polio Laboratory Community (GPLN), with help from the Invoice and Melinda Gates Basis.

That is the primary time that this sort of scientific method has been used to detect polio. Comparable methods have beforehand been used to detect COVID-19, Ebola, measles and monkeypox.

By enabling samples to be examined within the nation the place the outbreak originated reasonably than being despatched to specialist laboratories overseas, the prices and delays of transport and testing may be lowered from a mean of 42 days to a mean of 19 days.

At the moment, stool samples from international locations with lively polio outbreaks such because the DRC have to be shipped world wide for prolonged, advanced laboratory checks to substantiate a polio case. Sooner detection of polio within the areas the place outbreaks nonetheless happen permits for a sooner response by authorities by focused, localised vaccination campaigns, minimising the chance for the virus to unfold.

Javier Martin, Principal Scientist in Virology on the MHRA stated:

We’re standing at a fragile and pivotal second for the eradication of polio. Whereas vaccination programmes have seen polio disappear in lots of international locations, the delayed detection of outbreaks poses a significant menace to these efforts.

By implementing detection strategies resembling DDNS, we will establish the place outbreaks are and which polio pressure is current rather more rapidly, permitting us to behave on the earliest alternative.

That is the results of years of labor, collaborating with our companions. Collectively, we’ll proceed to construct on this analysis and help international locations prone to outbreaks to implement DDNS testing to assist make polio a illness of the previous.”

This analysis confirmed that DDNS checks finished regionally within the DRC over a six-month interval had been a mean of 23 days sooner than the usual technique, with over 99% accuracy.

Researchers additionally examined this system within the UK and detected poliovirus in London in 2022, resulting in the current drive to make sure kids beneath the age of 12 are vaccinated by the London polio catch-up marketing campaign 2023.

Professor Placide Mbala-Kingebeni, Medical Physician and Virologist on the Institut Nationwide de Recherche Biomédicale stated:

That is the right instance of collaboration, the place combining and sharing information along with all our companions has supported the important work of the INRB within the DRC the place poliomyelitis stays a critical public well being downside.

Collaboration and coaching with our companions has empowered the native crew not solely to grasp and confidently perform this new method but in addition to switch the information and expertise to different African international locations the place poliovirus outbreaks are reported usually.

The help and steering of the Invoice and Melinda Gates Basis and the GPLN, who make these collaborations potential, permits the applying and growth of DDNS throughout Africa for the speedy detection of poliovirus and outbreak response, serving to us transfer nearer in the direction of polio eradication.”

Dr Alex Shaw, Analysis Fellow within the College of Public Well being at Imperial School London stated:

This technique permits the speedy affirmation of polio strains, facilitating swifter vaccine responses that may cut back the variety of polio circumstances stemming from an outbreak. Growth and validation of the tactic has been the results of fruitful collaboration between a consortium of many companions.

As a consortium we look ahead to the coaching of extra nationwide laboratories on this technique, with prior trainees, together with members of INRB, now taking up the position of trainers.

The sequencing expertise used on this technique is definitely tailored for the detection and typing of different organisms. This rollout will subsequently present a basis of expertise and expertise that may be redirected to the genomic surveillance of different pathogens as wanted.”

Polio is an infectious illness brought on by the poliovirus, mostly transmitted by contact with contaminated feces by way of contaminated meals and water.

Whereas many individuals could by no means present signs, in excessive circumstances, particularly for infants and youngsters beneath the age of 5, polio can result in everlasting paralysis or loss of life.

The WHO has recognized delays in detection as one of many main challenges going through their Polio eradication technique 2022-2026.

Whereas sooner detection strategies resembling DDNS can’t eradicate polio on their very own, they play a vital half in managing outbreaks.

Scientists on the MHRA will proceed to help the testing and validation of DDNS as a polio detection method and coaching WHO laboratories world wide in methods to use it.


Journal reference:

Shaw, A. G., et al. (2023). Delicate poliovirus detection utilizing nested PCR and nanopore sequencing: a potential validation examine. Nature Microbiology.