NHS England has urged healthcare professionals to “focus on improving early recognition and timely treatment of sepsis.” In a recent event in London to launch a major campaign in association with the UK Sepsis Trust, a range of expert speakers spoke of the urgency of early diagnosis. This awareness campaign coincides with the introduction by Oxford Biosystems of important new DNA rapid tests for the detection of sepsis and AMR analysis.

NHS England explains that sepsis can occur after an injury or minor infection, or with people who have just had surgery or received wounds as a result of an accident. Those at higher risk include patients with a weakened immune system or who have a serious illness, as well as the very young and very old. 

Among the initiatives highlighted by NHS England were the package of support promised by the Secretary of State to assist in the earlier diagnosis of sepsis in young children, new 2017 guidance for hospitals aimed at reducing antibiotic resistance and the distribution of education and training materials to increase awareness of sepsis.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England Medical Director, said that while improvements had been made in identifying and treating cases of sepsis, there was much more to do. “Sepsis is a severe and life threatening response to infection which can be really hard to spot in its early phases. It is often preventable if an infection is identified early. But even when it has set in, it may be turned around if treatment is started soon enough.”

These objectives can be supported by an innovative new rapid test to assist clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. This solution has been developed by the international biotechnology company Master Diagnostica and is being exclusively supplied in the UK through Oxford Biosystems.

Based on DNA Flow technology, the Sepsis Flow Chip can detect a wide range of pathogens and antibiotic resistant genes from patient blood cultures, providing accurate analysis results within hours. Targets include Gram positive cocci, Gram negative bacilli, Fungi, MRSA, mecA, vanA, vanB, ESBL, and Carbapenemases.

At the London campaign launch event, Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, claimed that “Thousands of people die every year from sepsis because the signs are unrecognised or the treatment delayed.”

This new DNA rapid test promises to provides the information that clinicians require in order to prescribe the correct, effective antibiotic treatment and improve the quality of patient care while reducing the overall costs.