Third generation sequencing technologies applied to diagnostic microbiology: benefits and challenges in applications and data analysis.

INTRODUCTION:

The diagnosis of infectious diseases is among the most successful areas of application of new generation sequencing technologies. The field has seen the development of numerous experimental and analytical approaches for the detection and the fine description of pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms.

AREAS COVERED:

Without claiming to be exhaustive with respect to all applications and methods developed over the years, this review focuses on the advantages and the issues brought by the new technologies, with an eye in particular to third generation sequencing methods. Both experimental procedures and algorithmic strategies are presented, following the most relevant publications which have led to progress in our ability of detecting infectious agents. Expert Commentary: The technical advance brought by third generation sequencing platforms has the potential to significantly expand the range of diagnostic tools that will be available to clinicians. Nonetheless, the implementation of these technologies in clinical practice is still far from being actionable and will temporally follow the path undertaken by second generation methods, which still require the setup of standardized pipelines in both wet and dry laboratory procedures.

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