University of Liverpool


Meningitis host defense assay

Description of the study:

The collboartion between the Brain Infections Group, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool and Fast Track Diagnostics aims to develop a rapid commecial PCR-based host blood test to assist clinical diagnosis of bacterial meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the UK and worldwide, with considerable health economic costs.

The key step in early patient management is distinguishing bacterial meningitis, which needs immediate antibiotic treatment, from mimics, such as viral meningitis, which do not. The essential test for distinguishing the two is the lumbar puncture, but this is often delayed, or not performed at all, resulting in unnecessary antibiotics for many patients, contributing to the burden of antimicrobial resistance.

A novel, rapid method to distinguish bacterial meningitis from mimics based on a blood test could improve hospital management and patient outcomes.

Using samples from Univeristy of Liverpool’s multicentre observational study – The UK Meningitis Study, funded by NIHR and the Meningitis Research Foundation, they have identified host transcripts in the blood that distinguish  pateints with confirmed bacterial meningitis form look-a-like clinical conditions (viral meningitis / meningism). 

Together, the partners will develop a multiplex PCR assay, and validate it using an independent set of patient samples recruited through the Liverpool Brain Infections Group’s network of hospitals in the UK and hospitals overseas. 


References: (Accessed: January 2017)


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