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Mining RNA unmapped reads: developing a fast diagnostic tool for infectious disease in cattle

Dr Laura Buggiotti (RVC) - £322,408
1 January 2019 to 30 April 2021 (Innovation Fellowship BSA12)

The aim of the fellowship is to develop a fast, accurate and cost-effective diagnostic tool for infectious disease in cattle. We are working towards tracking many varied pathogens from a single blood sample providing evidence which could be used for surveillance programs. In fact, the level of the pathogen genome transcriptome will be used as a herd infection predictor for monitoring and preventing the disease, as prevention is better than cure.

Accompanying economic analysis will determine how cost effective this approach may be in promoting targeted disease prevention strategies, and the detection of multiple diseases through a single test could result in a potential cost-savings to public-sector disease surveillance programmes.

The final goal of this project is to develop a high quality molecular surveillance service for bovine pathogens and once the tool is developed the underlying concepts will be extremely useful in disease surveillance in other countries, particularly in under-developed regions. A single sample can be used to survey a large number of pathogens at the same time leading to a better understanding of which prevention/treatment strategies are needed.

Dr Laura Buggiotti, Researcher in Bioinformatics, Royal Veterinary College.

Follow Laura on Twitter: @laurabuggiotti