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EU Funds Respiratory Infection MDx Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Researchers in four European countries will use a €6 million ($7.5 million) grant to develop molecular diagnostic testing technology to accelerate diagnosis of respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia, the European Commission said yesterday.

The grant will support a collaboration between scientists at the Molecular Diagnostics Research Group at the National University of Ireland, Galway; the French diagnostics firm Genewave; the Finnish biotech company Mobidiag; Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris; and University College London.

Funded under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme, the Rapid Identification of Respiratory Tract Infections (RID-RTI) project aims to develop a cost-effective test that would cut the time required to diagnose a large range of respiratory tract infections from days to hours.

RTIs are among the top four major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. They can be difficult to diagnose accurately and current microbial culture-based tests typically take up to 30 hours, which can impede early and effective treatment.

"There is an urgent need for rapid diagnostic tests capable of identifying the large range of microorganisms and antibiotic resistances involved with infection," Thomas Barry, principal investigator of the MDRG at NUI Galway, said in a statement.

"Speed and accuracy are key to appropriate therapy and survival of the patient," he added. "The ultimate objective [of RID-RTI] is to develop new cost effective, user-friendly products that will be routinely used in hospitals. This could replace time-consuming and labor-intensive methods so that a diagnosis can be achieved within a couple of hours, rather than days or weeks."

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