A one month old baby is admitted to a hospital with fever. This is cause for serious alarm. The child is put on broad spectrum antibiotics. The infected area is drained and a culture run to try to identify the pathogen. The cultures come back negative, the pathogen not identified.
This is what was happening in a case that our guest David Hong, the VP of Medical Affairs at Karius, talks about at the outset of today’s interview. But because Karius uses the patient’s blood and new testing based on next generation sequencing, they are able to discover cell free remnants of the pathogen and identify the organism causing the baby’s infection. This diagnosis then allowed the doctors to change to a targeted treatment, a more narrow antibiotic.
This story exemplifies the revolution going on in the infectious disease space as a result of new sequencing based tests. The folks at Karius call them liquid biopsies for infections. Today David shares with us the kinds of hard-to-diagnosis cases that are coming to them from hospitals around the country. He also explains how better diagnosis is impacting the main issue on the minds of those in infectious disease today: antibiotic resistance.
How quickly can Karius get a new test out to market? How much discovery do they do for new pathogens? And just what are the possibilities here moving forward into 2019?