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Unlike many disease-focused research priorities, sepsis cannot be addressed by a single medical discipline, or by targeting only the biomedical community.

Preventing and mitigating its burden is not possible without addressing related social determinants, including underlying malnutrition and access to care. Action on Sepsis is well positioned to leverage the incredible pool of experts throughout UBC to address sepsis in three main that each include several research directions. 

  1. Prevention, population & public health

    Sepsis can be prevented by simple means, such as hand hygiene, appropriate antimicrobial prophylaxis, good nutrition, vaccines, and optimal health-seeking behavior. Its relationship to outbreaks or pandemics of infectious diseases also calls for vigilant surveillance systems and strong public health infrastructure. In this theme, Action on Sepsis builds on the expertise of UBC investigators in vaccination, nutrition, quality improvement, data management, reproductive infectious disease, and community engagement and capacity building to address the many social determinants of sepsis.

  2. Diagnosis

    There is currently no diagnostic test that can be reliably used to identify which patients have, or will develop, sepsis. The challenge of diagnosis is that the syndrome develops through highly complex pathophysiological pathways that may show varying clinical signs and symptoms. There has been rapid growth recently in understanding the exact biological mechanisms behind this overwhelming inflammatory response through UBC lead research efforts. The promising next steps involve integrating these insights into clinical practices. In this theme, Action on Sepsis has brought together UBC investigators that are leading global projects on epidemic preparedness and clinical trials in sepsis and RNA sequencing-based transcriptomics bioinformatics, and rapid molecular diagnostics to enable early diagnosis. Together, we will tackle the challenges of accurate and timely diagnosis and prediction of sepsis through the development novel diagnostic tools, using genomics and mobile health tools, and other innovative solutions.

  3. Management

    Simple approaches to recognition and management, such as bundled sepsis therapy, have been highly effective in both resource-rich and poor environments. At the same time, UBC has been at the forefront of developing treatments and personalized medicine strategies for managing patients, where the impacts could be tremendous. This theme will investigate many areas of management, including, improving clinical outcomes through established bundled therapy and personalized approaches, investigate novel therapeutics, and implementation of sepsis and antimicrobial stewardship tools. This theme will also address the long-term consequences of sepsis. A survivor of sepsis can experience debilitating long-term consequences, such as, increased related morbidity and for children, adverse developmental outcomes. It is important that the management of sepsis is considered not only at the onset of treatment, but continues for patients and their families during recovery and beyond.