We always believed that whole genome sequencing based surveillance would be the most cost-effective strategy for infection control, but we didn’t realize that the cost can go all the way down to $0.

Before you think we’ve gone mad, let’s clarify what we actually mean. Sequencing is still more expensive than we would like it to be, but a growing number of facilities have started to utilize whole genome sequencing for infectious disease surveillance under the premise that it will offset other healthcare costs. After all, every hospital deals with huge costs in cleaning, bed closures, microbiology testing, and personal protective equipment, to name a few, as part of their infection control and prevention activities. These are the hidden costs of infection control, but they come off of real budgets.

Two recently published studies are now showing that net cost reduction is possible with sequencing-based surveillance programs. Let’s go down-under and take a peek at a study from Queensland, Australia that looked at the financial impact of adding WGS surveillance to infection control for the management of multi-drug resistant bacterial outbreaks. They found that if they implemented WGS, they could not only break-even, but actually save money while reducing their transmission rates.1 Closer to home, UPMC estimated that they could potentially save money and avoid transmissions by using WGS routinely verses the standard of care. They were able to uncover and intervene in outbreaks that may have been missed before, but with a net zero cost to implement.2

When used routinely for transmission analysis and investigations, sequencing will lead to fewer transmissions and infections and avoid unnecessary patient deaths, while its entire cost can be offset with the savings in lowering these hidden costs. Ineffective decisions guided by standard of care methods that lack the precision of whole genome sequencing can lead to costly and unnecessary cautionary measures, or potentially miss opportunities to prevent patient morbidity and death. 

EpiXact®, our rapid turnaround WGS service for HAI investigations, uses the highest resolution SNP-based analysis to provide you with a simple, reliable answer about the relatedness of samples. Our turnkey service takes your isolates and performs all sequencing and analysis needed to provide you with a definitive answer regarding sample relatedness within 48 hours. 

Contact us if we can help you with an investigation. So, you can experience what working with us is like, new customers get 50% off their first investigation. 


1. Gordon LG et al. Budget impact analysis of routinely using whole-genomic sequencing of six multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens in Queensland, Australia. BMJ Open 2021;11.

2. Kumar et al. Method for Economic Evaluation of Bacterial Whole Genome Sequencing Surveillance Compared to Standard of Care in Detecting Hospital Outbreaks. CID 2020.