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NIH Funds Effort to Develop PCR Test to Diagnose Infections in Infants

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health has recently awarded a Wayne State University researcher a five-year grant to develop a PCR-based platform for the diagnosis of infections in febrile infants.

An estimated 500,000 febrile infants are admitted to emergency departments annually in the US, around 10 percent of which will have an invasive bacterial infection such as bacteremia or meningitis, according to the grant's abstract. Current methods for diagnosing these patients, however, are often invasive and can lead to the overuse of empirical antibiotics and unnecessarily hospitalizations.

To address this unmet need, and with the support of the NIH funding, Wayne State's Prashant Mahajan and colleagues are working to establish a panel of blood-based RNA signatures used to diagnose isolated bacterial and viral infections, as well as co-infections, in febrile infants.

The panel will then be validated using a novel and rapid PCR platform in a prospective, multi-center, cross-sectional study of febrile infants under evaluation for bacterial infections.

The grant project began on August 21, and is worth $1.4 million in its first year.