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New test predicts sepsis before blood clots

A new test predicted sepsis soon after infection in mice – well before blood clotting and organ failure – enabling early treatment and increasing survival.

The findings provide a platform to develop rapid and easy-to-perform clinical tests for early sepsis detection and clinical intervention in human patients.

The research team succeeded in detecting a catastrophic shift in blood protein abundance soon after infection that can predict sepsis well before disease symptoms and organ damage arise.

Project lead Professor Michael Mahan, said:  “The key finding was identifying proteins in the blood that arise very soon after infection.”

To carry out the test, a small amount of blood was collected and analysed for an increase in coagulation proteins that are induced but inactive at early stages of infection. Such detection enabled early antibiotic treatment – before activated coagulation proteins induced blood clotting – resulting in markedly increased survival in mice. The technology is open source and freely accessible to all.

The study also demonstrated that antibiotics are less effective after blood proteins increase in response to infection.

Failure may be due to host injury triggered by excessive blood clotting, providing insight into why delays in antibiotic treatment in human sepsis are associated with increased risk of death.

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Image credit | Shutterstock

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