If molecular diagnostic tests are to keep pace with fast-evolving microbes, they will have to find an “extra gear.” Existing gears—single pathogen tests and multiplexed panels—have their advantages, mostly with respect to specificity. But specificity is of little help when one is chasing a moving target, as one is obliged to do when typing pathogens or profiling resistant strains. To keep up with such elusive quarry, molecular diagnostics may need to shift to next-generation sequencing (NGS).
Already, NGS is moving into the clinical laboratory, improving the responsiveness of disease control in healthcare settings, and promising to advance the personalization of patient therapy. And now NGS is poised to go yet farther, nimbly bypassing obstacles that have slowed molecular testing’s progress.
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