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New device could cut sepsis diagnosis time

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Wideblue is working alongside customer Anasyst o develop the cavity absorption system

A new point of care device is being developed which could potentially cut the diagnosis time of sepsis to just 30 minutes.

Scotland-based medical device development specialist Wideblue is working alongside customer Anasyst and Teesside University to develop a low-cost optical cavity absorption system.

This device, which has been used as part of a clinical evaluation at an NHS hospital laboratory, passes light back and forth within a sample, between two high reflectivity mirrors, to increase the pathlength and sensitivity.

The developers say that the prototype reader device proved to be low-cost, reliable and have a high level of sensitivity.

Using this method to analyse blood samples, means light is passed through the system multiple times, and any subtle changes in biomarker colour can be linked to diagnosing sepsis. The whole process can be done in around 30 minutes.

Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by a systemic reaction to an infection – usually bacterial but also viral or fungal. Cytokines released into the blood, in response to infection, can induce widespread inflammation which leads to abnormal cardiovascular response and damage to the body’s organs.

Russell Overend, Wideblue’s CEO, said: “This has the potential to be a huge breakthrough in the rapid diagnosis and early treatment of sepsis.

“Currently the diagnosis of sepsis is really quite slow, and for every hour that the illness is left undetected increases the mortality rate by 6-10%.

“This new point of care device could be used in hospitals or GP surgeries and will give results in around 30 minutes. We are currently still in the feasibility stage, and our partners are looking for more funding to start full clinical trials.”

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