Simple Diagnostic Device for Early Detection of Neonatal Sepsis

Lucerna, Inc.
Organization Location: 
New York, NY USA

Neonatal mortality in developing countries averages about 34 per 1000 live births and the most common cause of death is bacterial infection. Neonatal sepsis contribute to 34.6% of all early onset infections and causes about 1.6 millions deaths a year. Sepsis mortality is directly related to the severity of stage at which it is diagnosed. Therefore, it is widely accepted that the effective treatment of neonatal sepsis requires early detection and rapid therapeutic intervention. However, it is clinically challenging to diagnose sepsis in neonates since symptoms present as localized bacterial or viral infections until hemodynamic and respiratory collapse is imminent. This is especially problematic in resource-challenged regions because healthcare professionals need to quickly determine whether a sick infant is suffering from normal infections that can be treated in the local clinic with oral antibiotics or if an infant is septic and requires immediate hospitalization and intravenous antibiotic treatments. Therefore, an inexpensive, simple, non-perishable diagnostic test that can be used by healthcare workers in primary clinics or by parents at home to rapidly confirm sepsis is of great importance. We will develop a portable diagnostic device for the rapid and specific detection of procalcitonin, an early sepsis biomarker. Our sensors will be inexpensive, simple to use and highly durable, which will make them ideal for early detection of neonatal sepsis in resource-challenged regions. Implementation of this device will result in significantly improved treatment of neonatal sepsis and will therefore have a significant impact on the morbidity and mortality of newborns worldwide.