Unbiased Strain-Typing of Arbovirus Directly from Mosquitoes Using Nanopore Sequencing: A Field-forward Biosurveillance Protocol

Russell et al. 2018. Scientific Reports

The full paper is available at the journal website. You can read the abstract below:

                                                                          Abstract

"The future of infectious disease surveillance and outbreak response is trending towards smaller handheld solutions for point-of-need pathogen detection. Here, samples of Culex cedecei mosquitoes collected in Southern Florida, USA were tested for Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus (VEEV), a previously-weaponized arthropod-borne RNA-virus capable of causing acute and fatal encephalitis in animal and human hosts. A single 20-mosquito pool tested positive for VEEV by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) on the Biomeme two3. The virus-positive sample was subjected to unbiased metatranscriptome sequencing on the Oxford Nanopore MinION and shown to contain Everglades Virus (EVEV), an alphavirus in the VEEV serocomplex. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, the use of unbiased sequence-based detection and subtyping of a highconsequence biothreat pathogen directly from an environmental sample using field-forward protocols. The development and validation of methods designed for field-based diagnostic metagenomics and pathogen discovery, such as those suitable for use in mobile “pocket laboratories”, will address a growing demand for public health teams to carry out their mission where it is most urgent: at the point-of-need."