Performance of Metagenomic Next-Generation Sequencing for the Diagnosis of Viral Meningoencephalitis in a Resource-Limited Setting
Hong NTT., Anh NT., Mai NTH., Nghia HDT., Nhu LNT., Thanh TT., Phu NH., Deng X., van Doorn HR., Chau NVV., Delwart E., Thwaites G., Tan LV.
Abstract Background Meningoencephalitis is a devastating disease worldwide. Current diagnosis fails to establish the cause in ≥50% of patients. Metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) has emerged as pan-pathogen assays for infectious diseases diagnosis, but few studies have been conducted in resource-limited settings. Methods We assessed the performance of mNGS in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 66 consecutively treated adults with meningoencephalitis in a tertiary referral hospital for infectious diseases in Vietnam, a resource-limited setting. All mNGS results were confirmed by viral-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). As a complementary analysis, 6 viral PCR-positive samples were analyzed using MinION-based metagenomics. Results Routine diagnosis could identify a virus in 15 (22.7%) patients, including herpes simplex virus (HSV; n = 7) and varicella zoster virus (VZV; n = 1) by PCR, and mumps virus (n = 4), dengue virus (DENV; n = 2), and Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV; n = 1) by serological diagnosis. mNGS detected HSV, VZV, and mumps virus in 5/7, 1/1, and 1/4 of the CSF positive by routine assays, respectively, but it detected DENV and JEV in none of the positive CSF. Additionally, mNGS detected enteroviruses in 7 patients of unknown cause. Metagenomic MinION-Nanopore sequencing could detect a virus in 5/6 PCR-positive CSF samples, including HSV in 1 CSF sample that was negative by mNGS, suggesting that the sensitivity of MinION is comparable with that of mNGS/PCR. Conclusions In a single assay, metagenomics could accurately detect a wide spectrum of neurotropic viruses in the CSF of meningoencephalitis patients. Further studies are needed to determine the value that real-time sequencing may contribute to the diagnosis and management of meningoencephalitis patients, especially in resource-limited settings where pathogen-specific assays are limited in number.