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article imageFaster and accurate test for sepsis invented

By Tim Sandle     May 23, 2017 in Science
Tongde - Medical technologists have constructed a test designed to rapidly and reliably diagnose sepsis. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication arising from bacterial infections.
Sepsis is caused by bacterial blood stream infections (some people refer to it as blood-poisoning). Sepsis is a potentially life threatening condition which occurs when the body's response to infection works against itself and starts to injury its own tissues and organs. Symptoms of sepsis include fever, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and confusion. Risks are greater with the elderly, young people and those who are immunocompromised (as with many hospital patients). Risk of death arises from poor organ function or reduced blood flow. Globally, sepsis remains a very common cause of death among hospitalized patients.
Sepsis can be caused by something as seemingly innocuous as a cut or insect bite, or following an infection like pneumonia. The disease is also a risk following surgery, or for women who have just given birth. A further risk is with rashes. The condition cellulitis, which refers to a common under the skin infection causing skin inflammation, can, in some circumstances, spread deep into soft tissue if left untreated this can lead to sepsis.
READ MORE: A cure for sepsis? Chance discovery could save lives
Current methods for screening for sepsis are blood based. These conventional methods rely on culturing blood samples for bacteria and they take up to five days for a result to be obtained. Crucially this delay can result in an incorrect treatment being administered. This includes the risk of the wrong antimicrobial being given. Delays increase the risk of death. Notably there is a lack of global harmonization on the test standards to diagnosing sepsis. Rapid diagnosis of sepsis in hospitalized patients is important since in severe cases, there is an average 8 percent decrease in survival rate per hour. This begins with the onset of low blood pressure and continues without effective antimicrobial treatment.
It is for these reasons that a rapid and accurate test offers advantages for medics in assessing sepsis and they type of microorganism involved. Researchers from the Tongde Hospital of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China have described what they are terming a TaqMan-Based Multiplex real-time PCR detection system. This technology allows for rapid detection of 10 of the most frequent bacterial pathogens from blood samples. The method sequences DNA extracted from a sample of blood plasma and amplifies it millions of times so that the type of infectious agent can be identified.
In a statement, lead researcher Dr. Bing Zhang states: "Interestingly, pathogens in some blood culture-negative cases of sepsis patients were still detected in this study. We speculate that the residual DNA fragments of the bacteria might be detected by this system even if they were destroyed by antibacterial drugs or the immune system.”
The research has been published in the Journal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis, with the research paper headed “Rapid diagnosis of sepsis with TaqMan-Based multiplex real-time PCR.”
More about Sepsis, Bacteria, Infection, pcr
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