Image: Global Health Diagnostics Laboratory Co-Head Associate Professor David Anderson
A Burnet Institute point-of-care test for the early detection of sepsis is one of 13 pioneering medical research projects to benefit from the inaugural round of the Victorian Medical Research Fund.
The newly established fund provides AUD$3 million for investment into new projects that fast track the translation of early stage health and medical research into everyday clinical practice and patient care.
The point-of-care test being developed by Burnet’s Global Health Diagnostics Development Group has attracted AUD$100,000 in funding.
Sepsis is a severe, life-threatening inflammatory reaction to infections, which kills more than eight million people worldwide each year, including 3000 Australians.
Survival rates are very low without antibiotic treatment within hours of onset.
Current detection methods take around 24 hours to complete, but the new point-of-care test will give a result in 15 minutes from a single drop of blood.
This is made possible by new insights into neutrophil (the most abundant type of white blood cell) activation during infection.
Co-head of the Global Diagnostics Laboratory, Associate Professor David Anderson, said newborns and the elderly are particularly susceptible to sepsis.
“Rapid diagnosis can help prevent deaths, while at the same time reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics, an important step in reducing the spread of antimicrobial resistance,” Associate Professor Anderson said.
“We are very excited by the potential of our new findings to make a major difference in the ability to diagnose sepsis, first with a laboratory test but now working towards point-of-care.”
Other projects to receive funding include the development of new technologies to treat severe asthma, a ‘virtual hospital’ providing greater accessibility to treatment and support for patients with chronic disease, and a new treatment for ovarian cancer.
“These cutting-edge projects show exactly why Victoria is at the forefront of groundbreaking medical research across the globe,” Victorian Health Minister, The Hon Jill Hennessy, said.
“Victoria is proudly home to the best and brightest medical minds leading the way in revolutionary discoveries that will save lives.”