The Pasteur Institute of Madagascar, Oxford University and Stony Brook University are collaborating and using a genomic approach to the study of TB drug resistance and epidemiology in Madagascar. A team consisting of the research partners and Oxford Nanopore Technologies visited Madagascar to train scientists from IPM and other research institutes on the MinION handheld sequencer.
In a first week of training, in addition to M. tuberculosis, complete genomes of Coronavirus, RSV and carbapenemase-producing strains of Klebsiella pneumonia were sequenced. The whole genomes of pathogens responsible for diseases that are still endemic in Madagascar, such as plague and leprosy, were also sequenced.
The training will be extended to health facilities of the National Tuberculosis Program of Madagascar. The objective is to develop capacity of users and test the MinION handheld sequencer capabilities in the field. A larger study funded by the Wellcome Trust will be launched to use whole genome sequencing prospectively to identify TB drug resistance and better understand the dynamics of TB transmission in Madagascar.