Ministry of Defence scientists have cracked the blueprint for a “breakthrough” blood test which promises to save thousands of lives a year in the fight against hospital sepsis.
Researchers trying to combat infection in troops following battlefield injury say they have identified the molecular “signature” that predicts the life-threatening condition hours or even days before symptoms start to show.
One of the leading causes of avoidable death in the UK, sepsis kills more than 37,000 people a year and occurs when an infection enters the body and the immune system overreacts, attacking major organs.
Despite scandals such as the death of three-year-old Sam Morrish in 2010, cases are still routinely missed because doctors and nurses attribute symptoms to other causes and current tests take many hours to come back.
But scientists at the Defence Science and Technology laboratory (DSTL) have told The Telegraph their 10-year study should enable vulnerable patients to be screened for sepsis using a simple one-hour test.