Application of long-read RNA sequencing to characterise and distinguish between infections: a pathway to novel diagnostics

Irina Chelysheva

Irina Chelysheva, University of Oxford, UK


Bacterial and viral infections are major causes of morbidity and mortality globally, and newly emerging infections such as SARS-CoV-2, are a major threat to global health. Signs and symptoms of infections can be non-specific, and definitive diagnostic tests can take hours and lack sensitivity. Here, we applied long-read Oxford Nanopore RNA-sequencing on blood samples to compare individuals with bacterial infection (typhoid fever), and viral infection (COVID-19). We characterised the molecular response to these infections and revealed unique signatures. Oxford Nanopore RNA-sequencing was able to accurately distinguish between typhoid fever and COVID-19 potentially indicating a major step forward in the development of rapid diagnostics.   


Irina completed her Medical Degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Hamburg, Germany. From 2015, she mainly focused on bioinformatics and has experience working with a variety of NGS data, including Ribo-seq, RNA-seq, TCR-seq, and nanopore sequencing. Currently, Irina is a postdoctoral medical bioinformatician in the Oxford Vaccine Group, where she works on big datasets derived from clinical trials, including the COVID-19 Oxford vaccine trial, and develops pipelines for QC of NGS data.