SEARCH – Sepsis Aetiology Research in Maternal, Paediatric and Neonatal Admissions

Septicaemia is an important cause of maternal, neonatal and paediatric morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to lack of rapid and accurate diagnostics, the exact microbial aetiology and drug resistance profiles remain undefined. New and affordable diagnostic tools are required to improve treatment and reduce mortality.

Phase 1: Prospective observational study of the microbial aetiology of septicaemia in Zambian women, neonates and children admitted to University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka. This will be performed using blood culture and microbiological techniques, alongside a novel state-of-the art array-based system from Mobidiag, Finland, to determine the prevalence of different pathogens, their drug resistance profiles and to identify risk factors linked with poor outcomes. 

Phase 2: Candidate pathogens and drug resistance markers predictive of mortality will be selected based on the findings of phase 1 (and other published data from the region) to design an affordable molecular diagnostic test for septicaemia, tailored to the pathogens and drug resistances prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa.