The test would reduce diagnosis time from days to hours, so that the appropriate treatments can be administered as early as possible for the best possible outcome.
Respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia, are amongst the top four major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children, killing an estimated 1.4 million children under the age of five each year.
“There is an urgent need for rapid diagnostic tests capable of identifying the large range of microorganisms and antibiotic resistances involved with infection”, explains Dr Thomas Barry of the Molecular Diagnostics Research Group at NUI Galway. “Speed and accuracy are key to appropriate therapy and survival of the patient. The ultimate objective is to develop new cost effective, user-friendly products that will be routinely used in hospitals. This could replace time-consuming and labour-intensive methods so that a diagnosis can be achieved within a couple of hours, rather than days or weeks.”
The diagnostic products for the rapid diagnosis of Respiratory Tract Infections, specifically pneumonia, will be based on a novel ‘sample-in, result-out’ technology platform.
The Molecular Diagnostics Research Group (MDRG) at NUI Galway is part of an international consortium involved in the project, funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7). A total grant of €6 million was awarded with the contribution to NUI Galway close to €1 million. The project, Rapid Identification of Respiratory Tract Infections (RiD-RTI), represents a unique partnership of SMEs, universities and hospitals from four European countries.
The MDRG at NUI Galway joins University College London, the French diagnostic company Genewave, the Finnish Biotech company Mobidiag, and Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris in this consortium.
The NUI Galway project component is led by Dr Thomas Barry, Principal Investigator of the MDRG which is based in Microbiology along with Dr’s Nina Tuite and Kate Reddington.