Revolutionary new test which could save children’s lives

01/07/2010

Department of Microbiology in Belfast Health and Social Care Trust have won the Elevations Diagnostics idea of the year award. The team have developed a rapid molecular test for early diagnosis of meningococcal disease (MD) resulting in earlier treatment.

Department of Microbiology in Belfast Health and Social Care Trust have won the Elevations Diagnostics idea of the year award. The team have developed a rapid molecular test for early diagnosis of meningococcal disease (MD) resulting in earlier treatment.

About Meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease is a life-threatening infection. It is a term used to describe two major illnesses – meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning). These can occur on their own or more commonly both together. It can strike at any age, but most cases occur in babies and young children.

MD remains one of the most serious childhood infections in the developed world and even with treatment has serious or fatal consequences therefore early diagnosis is critical to reducing the effects.

Groundbreaking new test

Traditional laboratory tests can take up to 36 hours or more to complete. With early diagnosis critical, doctors often rely on their clinical judgement, however it can be difficult to make clinical diagnosis in the early stages of MD.

This groundbreaking new test can now confirm diagnosis in two hours, resulting in earlier treatment. The rapid diagnostic test which the team has developed is already in use for both routine testing, and for ongoing research within the Trust.

About the Elevation awards

The Elevation awards celebrate the most innovative ideas and visionaries working in Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care Trusts.

The Awards highlight unique ideas which could transform healthcare or lead to vital medical breakthroughs.

Dr Fairley accepted the awards for the Diagnostics and Pharmaceutical Idea of the Year and the best overall entry from BHSCT, on behalf of the research team from the Belfast Trust.
Dr Fairley said “This is a great example of a successful translational research project, which began as laboratory research, and has now moved on to improve the clinical service, and to benefit patients. The team – which includes both laboratory scientists and clinicians – would like to acknowledge support from both the Meningitis Research Foundation and the HSC Innovations service.”

The awards were judged by a panel of experts from industry, healthcare and business support organisations and reward innovative ideas in the areas of Diagnostics; Equipment; Pharmaceutical and Information and Communication Technology.