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Science and technology advances in microbial forensics needed to better prepare
Date:6/9/2014

nd common occurences, detection and response will not be delayed by lack of availability of and familiarity with tools and systems when a rare event does happen, the report says.

The committee that wrote the report identified needs in basic science, technologies, analytic methods, data sharing, and training and education, and grouped them in terms of how difficult it will be to achieve them and whether there are existing efforts that can be drawn upon.

One set of needs includes those that are especially technologically challenging or that require long lead times. For example, there is a dearth of even the most basic information about many microorganisms and a crucial need for high-confidence methods to distinguish among natural, accidental, and deliberate disease outbreaks. A needed international effort to identify, monitor, and characterize more microbial species should start with known pathogens and expand to include close relatives and emerging pathogens, and more systematic and comprehensive reference collections and databases should be established. International political and scientific communities should explore how to share microbial forensic data.

A second set of needs includes those that could take advantage of ongoing efforts, especially those that are common to both microbial forensics and public health. Among these, priorities are research on pathogenicity and immune responses; improved global disease monitoring and surveillance in humans, plants, and animals; improved global access to molecular diagnostic techniques; and refinement of bioinformatics and statistical methods for evaluating evidence.

The third set of needs encompasses those with either relatively short lead times to make substantial progress or that can take advantage of existing markets that will provide incentives for industry to produce what is required. The development of faster, cheaper, and more reliable sequencing technologies, a compilation of all protoco
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Contact: Lauren Rugani
news@nas.edu
202-344-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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