Genomic sequencing a useful tool to prevent diarrhoea: US expert

Kochi, Oct. 31: Genomic sequencing can be a useful tool to identify a novel antibiotic that could protect children from Shigella bacteria-induced diarrhoea, a noted epidemiology and public health expert from the US said.


Addressing the 14thAsian Conference on Diarrhoeal Disease and Nutrition (ASCODD), Prof. Colin Stine, of University of Maryland School of Medicine, US, delineated the process of preventing diarrhoea using metagenome and whole genome sequencing.  


“The process of identifying a novel antibiotic using genomic sequencing involves the interaction between Shigella and Lactobacillus salivarius, a probiotic bacteria species that has been found to live in the gastrointestinal tract. Increasing quantities of Lactobacillus salivarius decrease the proportion of diarrhoea cases due to Shigella,” he explained,


Prof. Stine, who was addressing the session on the topic “Understanding of enteric pathogens and NGS” during the inaugural day of the conference, said the whole genome sequence of Lactobacillus salivarius helps identify the mechanism with which Lactobacillus salivarius inhibits the growth of Shigella in culture.


The researchers found that the supernatant from an overnight culture of Lactobacillus salivarius inhibits the growth of Shigella in culture. They cloned and developed a cell wall hydrolase that kills Shigella in culture.

“From this, we have arrived at the conclusion that the cell wall hydrolase is a mechanism to protect children from Shigella-induced diarrhoea,” the expert told at the three-day conference, being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kochi.  

On the second day, sessions were held on topics like “Gut immune system and oral vaccines”, “Protection against enteric diseases, vaccines and other interventions,” “Point of care diagnostics,” “Arsenic and Health,” “Antimicrobial Resistance,” and “Regional experiences in control of diarrhoeal diseases”.

Over 61 scientists from countries, including the UK, the US, Bangladesh, Germany, India, France and Sweden, are attending the conference, which has been organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Thiruvananthapuram  in association with International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b); Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad; the INCLEN Trust International (INCLEN INT) and the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata.

The theme of the conference is “Saving lives: innovations and solutions for diarrhoeal diseases, enteric fever and malnutrition,” which is majorly supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


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