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World Leading Genomics Project To Fight Superbugs

29 March 2017

Victorian researchers will pioneer a world leading study using genomic sequencing technology to improve the control of superbugs in hospitals and better protect patients from infections.

Visiting Austin Health today, Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today announced the next five disease areas for Victoria’s ground-breaking genomic sequencing project led by the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance.

The Andrews Labor Government is investing $25 million in the genomic sequencing capability project which will see around 2000 Victorians access genomic sequencing tests over four years.

Through this project, more patients are receiving a life-changing medical diagnosis for the first time ever and getting the better care and treatment they need to improve their health outcomes.

Genomic sequencing speeds up the diagnosis of rare and complex genetic conditions. A genomic sequencing test can read the DNA from all 20,000 of our genes at the same time, enabling scientists to analyse all the genes relevant to a patient’s condition in one test.

Now the revolutionary test will be used to better protect our hospitals and patients from antibiotic-resistant bacteria by building a real-time superbug tracking system across multiple hospitals.

The technology will be used to accurately identify superbugs and map how they are spreading. This means we can know more about the superbug quicker, improve control and prevent further spread to high-risk patients.

Patients at particular risk from superbugs include those in intensive-care units, those being treated for cancers or particular blood disorders, and transplant recipients.

Other disease areas selected by the Alliance are:

  • Genomic sequencing in bone marrow failure to offer a quicker and more accurate diagnosis
  • Better and earlier diagnosis of complex neurological and neurodegenerative diseases such as early-onset dementia, early-onset motor neurone disease and certain forms of Parkinson’s disease
  • A more accurate diagnosis of genetic kidney disease
  • Improving understanding of causes of multiple abnormalities in babies who die in utero or early in infancy

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“Victoria is leading the world when it comes to genomic sequencing, and its application in the fight against superbugs is yet another revolutionary step forward.”

“It has the power to identify potential superbug outbreaks before they become a real threat to the most vulnerable of patients.”

Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research Frank McGuire

“Patients with rare genetic conditions can suffer years of testing and expensive bills without ever learning what’s making them ill – our investment in genomic sequencing will help change that.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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