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New UBC developed test will rapidly diagnosis severe sepsis

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

University of British Columbia researchers developed a new test that could help physicians rapidly determine if a patient will develop severe sepsis – an infection from any source that can lead to organ failure.

The syndrome is responsible for up to five million deaths a year and about 18 million cases worldwide annually, according to a media release.

The new discovery will quickly determine whether or not a patient will develop sepsis within an hour and increase odds they’ll respond to treatment.

“With sepsis, every hour counts,” said microbiology and immunology professor and co-author of the study Bob Hancock. We identified a gene signature that is associated with the eventual diagnosis of sepsis and subsequent organ failure,”

The gene signature can be tested the moment the patient arrives in the emergency ward, he added. Normally, the diagnosis process can take 24 to 48 hours.

“The treatment involves aggressive antibiotics but the most potent drugs can’t be administered until a diagnosis is confirmed because of the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria,” said Hancock.

Sepsis has been treated as potentially fatal whole-boy inflammatory disease until now. The study disputes the potential misconception. The release stated that more than 30 clinical trials of anti-inflammatory drugs for sepsis have failed.

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