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Sequencing-Based Technology to Deliver ‘Holy Grail’ of Infectious Disease Diagnostics

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 25 Sep 2023
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Image: The Blood2Bac process enables high-depth, whole-genome sequence coverage of bacterial pathogens directly from clinical blood samples (Photo courtesy of Day Zero Diagnostics)
Image: The Blood2Bac process enables high-depth, whole-genome sequence coverage of bacterial pathogens directly from clinical blood samples (Photo courtesy of Day Zero Diagnostics)

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing global problem that encompasses not just bacterial resistance to antibiotics but also fungal resistance. The overuse of antibiotics has resulted in pathogens becoming resistant to formerly effective medications at a rate that outstrips the creation of new drugs. Treating antibiotic-resistant infections is not only more difficult and costly, but it also typically entails longer hospital stays, extra follow-up consultations, and more expensive, toxic alternative therapies. Such drug-resistant bacteria are increasingly leading to fatal outcomes, particularly in severe infections like sepsis. While timely and appropriate treatment can save lives, existing technologies often don't yield fast enough results for immediate, targeted antibiotic treatment. Moreover, cultures fail to grow in as many as half of all serious bloodstream infections.

Day Zero Diagnostics (Boston, MA, USA) is pioneering a new class of infectious disease diagnostics using the power of whole-genome sequencing and artificial intelligence (AI) to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections. The company is developing a sequencing-based diagnostic that can identify a broad array of bacterial and fungal pathogens while also determining their susceptibility to antimicrobials, all in under eight hours. This is a significant improvement over current methods, which can take days and are associated with an 8% increase in mortality rate for each passing hour.

The company is completing the development of an enhanced Blood2Bac sample preparation protocol that requires smaller sample sizes and is more cost-effective. This protocol is capable of capturing both fungi and bacteria. Day Zero Diagnostics is also fast-tracking the development of a commercial prototype system, incorporating both the hardware and a cloud-based AI algorithm suite called Keynome, which ensures highly accurate identification of organisms and their antimicrobial susceptibility. Hospitals adopting this diagnostic approach can expect reduced lengths of patient stays, minimized use of costly and toxic antibiotics that might not be effective, and most crucially, saved lives.

"DZD is focused on bringing an FDA-cleared diagnostic to market that will deliver the 'holy grail' of infectious disease diagnostics – same day organism identification and antimicrobial susceptibility profiling directly from clinical samples, and our investors share our belief in the game changing nature of our technology," said Jong Lee, CEO and co-founder of Day Zero Diagnostics.

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