Researchers from the University of Strathclyde have developed a new test for rapid and earlier diagnosis of sepsis. They claim that with this new device they could save thousands of lives.
Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection. According to the World health Organization, it is estimated to have affected more than 30 million people globally, every year and leads to potentially 6 million deaths.
Sepsis is notoriously difficult to diagnose but the small size of the devices makes them ideal for primary testing and continuous monitoring of the condition.
Existing diagnosis are based on simple measurements such as body temperature, breathing rate, heart rate and a blood test. However, results can take up to 72 hours. The innovative, low cost microelectrode device gives results within two and a half minutes by analysing the patient’s blood to see it if contains the protein biomarker interleukin-6 (IL-6). IL-6 is a molecule secreted by the immune system and found in high levels of people with sepsis.
The project’s clinical adviser and co-author, Dr David Alcorn says that the device could detect, diagnose and recommend the antibiotic for the infection at the same time.
Without instant treatment, the disease can lead to multiple organ failure which ultimately results in death. It is possible to treat the conditions with antibiotics if it is detected early and has not affected the vital organs yet.
The researchers have applied for grant funding to get a prototype of the device to be developed. With hopes to get commercial interest.
Alcorn believes that the “extraordinary” technology could have global implications. Experts hope that in the future it will be used in hospitals and General Practitioner surgeries.