Rapid Whole Genome Sequencing and Analysis of Five V. Cholerae
Strains Supports South Asian Lineage; Sets Groundwork for Potential New
Preventative or Therapeutic Strategies
MENLO PARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Scientists from Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (NASDAQ:PACB)
and Harvard Medical School have successfully employed single molecule,
real-time (SMRT™) DNA sequencing technology to rapidly characterize the
pathogen responsible for the recent deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti.
Published online Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the
results provide the first whole genome sequence analysis and most
detailed genetic profile to date of the Haitian Vibrio cholerae
The multi-strain sequencing and bioinformatic analysis confirm that the
cholera pathogen now present in Haiti is closely related to the "El Tor
O1" variant from South Asia. Given that the existence of this strain has
never been documented in the Caribbean region or throughout Latin
America, the evidence suggests that the Haitian epidemic began as a
result of the introduction of a new strain from a distant geographic
source. While the sequence analysis confirms a South Asian lineage, it
does not identify the specific source of the Haitian strain or suggest
how it may have arrived in the country.
In this collaboration, DNA prepared from five V. cholerae strains
at Harvard Medical School was received at Pacific Biosciences on
Wednesday, November 10, 2010. "Through the truly remarkable and
dedicated efforts of Dr. Schadt and his colleagues at PacBio, we had a
good understanding of the genome of the Haitian V. cholerae
isolates and their likely origin by Friday evening, November 12," said
John Mekalanos, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Microbiology and
Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, a senior author on the
study. "This understanding has important public health policy
implications for preventing cholera outbreaks in the future."
Members of a team led by Stephen Calderwood, M.D., Chief of the Division
of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and Morton N.
Swartz M.D. Academy Professor of Medicine (Microbiology and Molecular
Genetics) at Harvard Medical School, recently returned from working
alongside public health experts in Haiti where they collected samples
for the study in cooperation with Haitian collaborators.
"Witnessing the scale of human suffering caused by the rapidly
progressing cholera outbreak, our team was compelled to deploy a
technology that could immediately provide comprehensive genomic
information about this virulent strain and quickly get it into the hands
of the global health and research community," said Jason Harris, M.D.,
Physician, Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit at Massachusetts General
Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical
School. "In the initial stages of a major epidemic, real time is the
speed we need to be working in order to have the greatest impact on
Whole genome sequencing involves decoding the precise order of
nucleotide bases that make up an organism's complete set of DNA and
provides more comprehensive information than other analysis methods such
as DNA fingerprinting or arrays. With advances in technology and
decreasing cost, whole genome sequencing is emerging as the gold
standard method for identifying and classifying infectious agents. SMRT
technology is the latest advance in DNA sequencing, capable of
generating long sequence reads to resolve structural variations and
complex genomes at ultra-fast speeds by ‘eavesdropping' on DNA
replicating in real time.
"Now armed with a more complete characterization of this pathogen, the
scientific community is empowered with information that can be used to
inform public health policy decisions such as the appropriate use of
vaccines to quell this epidemic," said Eric Schadt, Ph.D., Chief
Scientific Officer of Pacific Biosciences and co-author of the paper.
"The ability to quickly and easily perform real-time monitoring of
pathogens also opens the door to using this technology as a routine
surveillance method, for public health protection in addition to
pandemic prevention and response."
To obtain a comprehensive genomic characterization of the origin of the
Haitian cholera pathogen, the PacBio/Harvard team sequenced two samples
from the current Haiti outbreak, two samples from South Asia
(Bangladeshi isolates from 1971 and 2008), and one sample from Latin
America (a 1991 Peruvian isolate). The team then compared this high
resolution whole genome sequence information to DNA sequence information
available in public databases for 23 diverse strains of V. cholerae.
Matthew Waldor, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical
School, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, is the lead
author on the paper entitled "The Origin of the Haitian Cholera Outbreak
Strain." A copy of the paper is available at www.nejm.com.
Real-time infectious disease monitoring is featured in a new documentary
film that was produced by Pacific Biosciences called "The New Biology."
The film profiles how new technologies are leading to advances in
cancer, infectious diseases, and agriculture. To view the infectious
disease segment, visit http://www.pacificbiosciences.com/newbio.
More information about SMRT technology is available at www.pacificbiosciences.com.
About Pacific Biosciences
Pacific Biosciences' mission is to transform the way humankind acquires,
processes and interprets data from living systems through the design,
development and commercialization of innovative tools for biological
research. The company has developed a novel approach to studying the
synthesis and regulation of DNA, RNA and proteins. Combining recent
advances in nanofabrication, biochemistry, molecular biology, surface
chemistry and optics, Pacific Biosciences has created a powerful
technology platform called single molecule, real-time, or SMRT™,
technology. SMRT technology enables real-time analysis of biomolecules
with single molecule resolution, which has the potential to transform
the understanding of biological systems by providing a window into these
systems that has not previously been open for scientific study.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including
statements regarding our belief that our SMRT technology could be used
as a routine surveillance method for public health protection in
addition to pandemic prevention or response, and our expectation that
the ability to rapidly access complete sequence information for
bacterial or viral pathogens will greatly improve the identification and
surveillance of infectious diseases, as well as provide a more complete
characterization of medically relevant molecular targets for potential
new vaccines or therapeutics. Forward-looking statements may contain
words such as "believe," "will," "may," "estimate," "anticipate,"
"continue," "intend," "expect," "plan," the negative of these terms, or
other similar expressions, and include the assumptions that underlie
such statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks
and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially
from those expressed or implied by such statements, including but not
limited to risks discussed from time to time in documents we have filed
with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risks
identified under the section captioned "Risk Factors" in our final
prospectus relating to our initial public offering filed pursuant to
Rule 424(b) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, on October 27,
2010. All forward-looking statements are based on management's
estimates, projections and assumptions as of the date hereof. We
undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
For Pacific Biosciences
David Cameron, 617-432-0441
Ben Gong, 650-521-8203
Source: Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc.
News Provided by Acquire Media