Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are increasingly being used for diagnosis and monitoring of infectious diseases. Herein, we review the application of NGS in clinical microbiology, focusing on genotypic resistance testing, direct detection of unknown disease-associated pathogens in clinical specimens, investigation of microbial population diversity in the human host, and strain typing. We have organized the review into three main sections: i) applications in clinical virology, ii) applications in clinical bacteriology, mycobacteriology, and mycology, and iii) validation, quality control, and maintenance of proficiency. Although NGS holds enormous promise for clinical infectious disease testing, many challenges remain, including automation, standardizing technical protocols and bioinformatics pipelines, improving reference databases, establishing proficiency testing and quality control measures, and reducing cost and turnaround time, all of which would be necessary for widespread adoption of NGS in clinical microbiology laboratories.
Copyright © 2015 American Society for Investigative Pathology and the Association for Molecular Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.