Harmonisation of in-silico next-generation sequencing based methods for diagnostics and surveillance
Improvements in cost and speed of next generation sequencing (NGS) have provided a new pathway for delivering disease diagnosis, molecular typing, and detection of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Numerous published methods and protocols exist, but a lack of harmonisation has hampered meaningful comparisons between results produced by different methods/protocols vital for global genomic diagnostics and surveillance. As an exemplar, this study evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of five well-established in-silico AMR detection software where the genotype results produced from running a panel of 436 Escherichia coli were compared to their AMR phenotypes, with the latter used as gold-standard. The pipelines exploited previously known genotype–phenotype associations. No significant differences in software performance were observed. As a consequence, efforts to harmonise AMR predictions from sequence data should focus on: (1) establishing universal minimum to assess performance thresholds (e.g. a control isolate panel, minimum sensitivity/specificity thresholds); (2) standardising AMR gene identifiers in reference databases and gene nomenclature; (3) producing consistent genotype/phenotype correlations.
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