Main Article Content
At its core, the work of clinical microbiologists consists in the retrieving of a few bytes of information (species identification; metabolic capacities; staining and antigenic properties; antibiotic resistance profiles, etc.) from pathogenic agents. The development of next generation sequencing technologies (NGS), and the possibility to determine the entire genome for bacterial pathogens, fungi and protozoans will likely introduce a breakthrough in the amount of information generated by clinical microbiology laboratories: from bytes to Megabytes of information, for a single isolate. In parallel, the development of novel informatics tools, designed for the management and analysis of the so-called Big Data, offers the possibility to search for patterns in databases collecting genomic and microbiological information on the pathogens, as well as epidemiological data and information on the clinical parameters of the patients. Nosocomial infections and antibiotic resistance will likely represent major challenges for clinical microbiologists, in the next decades. In this paper, we describe how bacterial genomics based on NGS, integrated with novel informatic tools, could contribute to the control of hospital infections and multi-drug resistant pathogens.
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