Preterm babies are uniquely susceptible to bacterial bloodstream infections, which can cause acute illness and increase the chances of long-term developmental problems. Currently available test methods to diagnose these infections can take more than 24 hours. The PROMISE Study is using novel techniques for the development of new tests that will allow doctors to diagnose a bacterial infection within one hour.
We are using tiny blood samples from babies suspected of having a bacterial infection to identify markers of bacterial growth in their blood. Once we identify a specific set of markers in the blood of babies who turn out to have a bloodstream infections compared to those babies who do not have an infection, we hope to design rapid tests for these markers.
These rapid tests will allow us to diagnose babies who are sick much earlier than we do currently, and we will be able to treat them more effectively as a result. Or, if the test shows that there is no infection, we will be able to withhold unnecessary treatment.
This study was funded by a grant from Telethon.