Ghady Haidar MD, has been awarded funding in the amount of $110,598 for a two-year study by the Karius Investigator Initiated Clinical Studies Review Committee entitled “Metagenomic sequencing for lung transplant recipients with respiratory tract infections: a pilot study.” Karius, Inc., is a life sciences company focused on generating genomic insights for infectious diseases that helps clinicians make rapid treatment decisions using genomics and AI to map a patient’s microbial landscape from a single blood draw.

Dr. Haidar’s project focuses on respiratory tract infections (RTIs), which include pneumonia and tracheobronchitis, and are the most common infections after lung transplant. Pneumonia is a leading cause of death in the first after lung transplant and is a major risk factor for acute and chronic rejection and graft loss. The overall objectives of this study are to prospectively compare the performance of microbial cell-free DNA (mcf-DNA) sequencing in plasma (Karius test) with standard microbiology in 15 newly-transplanted adult lung allograft recipients who develop clinically-suspected respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in the first two weeks after lung transplant (“cases”), compared to 15 lung transplant patients without infection (control). Secondary objectives are to determine the simulated impact of the Karius test on the time to pathogen-directed antibiotic therapy and healthcare economics parameters; and, to evaluate the performance of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) metagenomic sequencing and blood cytokine signatures in the same cohort.

Dr. Haidar’s primary goal is to study the yield of pathogen detection using the Karius test versus standard microbiology with an outcome that the Karius test will identify pathogens causing clinically suspected RTIs more frequently than standard clinical microbiology testing. This is an innovative study of next-generation sequencing for the identification of microbial cell-free DNA in plasma focusing exclusively on lung transplant recipients. Dr. Haidar seeks to gain a better understanding of the role of blood metagenomics testing in rapidly determining the cause of RTIs in order to promptly initiate appropriate antibiotics.