Sepsis is treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics until the germs involved are identified. These are effective against a broad spectrum of germs but using these antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic resistance. Hence, scientists at the University for Continuing Education Krems are developing methods to rapidly identify pathogenic bacteria and resistance patterns and to subsequently target them with specific therapies.

Treatment of sepsis with rapid and targeted antibiotics is critical for disease progression and patient survival. Identification of the pathogens involved in the infection by blood culture is a time-consuming procedure and requires initial treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Molecular diagnostic techniques, such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction), provide results within a few hours but can be inhibited by certain sample components. A quick and sensitive diagnosis allows for earlier targeted antibiotic therapy and reduces the risk of severe disease progression.

Developing targeted therapies

This project will therefore improve and further develop the detection of pathogenic germs in the blood. Scientists are investigating how long the DNA of germs remains detectable in the blood, even if they have already been inactivated by antibiotic treatment. In addition, factors that can inhibit molecular diagnostic procedures are identified. Furthermore, biomarkers are sought that indicate bacterial presence in the blood and the development of resistance is investigated. The aim is to develop a concept for direct pathogen detection from whole blood using next generation sequencing (NGS).


Enhancing the detection of pathogens in the blood

Duration: 2019 – 2022
Fund: The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)
Funding program: BRIDGE
Responsible for the project:  Prof Viktoria Weber

Researchers: Anita Brindlmayer, Ph.D.; Birgit Fendl; Lucia Krajcik; Matthias Pilecky, PhD; Prof Viktoria Weber

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