01.11.2021 – 11:13
BPI Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry
In Germany alone, more than 400,000 people develop sepsis every year, commonly known as blood poisoning. Over 75,000 die from it. To prevent this, it is crucial to treat the infection-related overreaction of the immune system quickly with the right medication. New test procedures and therapeutic approaches are aimed at identifying the pathogens as quickly as possible and using the right drugs at an early stage. Good news!
Sepsis: severe course of infection
Whether with a wound on the skin, pneumonia or cystitis: When pathogens – such as bacteria, viruses or fungi – enter our body, we react with inflammation. However, if the body’s defenses are too weak, as in the case of sepsis, and inflammation spreads in the bloodstream, the body’s immune and coagulation systems can fail. The result is serious functional disorders of the internal organs, which are fatal without successful drug therapy. Studies show that Covid-19 patients in particular have a particularly high risk of developing sepsis – it is considered the main cause of death as a result of a severe course of infection.
Insidious time bomb
Since the symptoms of sepsis are not always clear, doctors take blood samples if sepsis is suspected in order to identify the specific pathogen. But a laboratory evaluation can sometimes take two days. “The later you treat sepsis with medication, the higher the risk of further complications,” says Dr. Matthias Wilken, pharmacist at the Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry eV (BPI). So far, the doctor has usually given a broad-spectrum antibiotic as a precaution and initiates measures to stabilize the patient and treat his symptoms. “These can be infusions to stabilize the circulation, for example,” says Dr. Wilken. In order to be able to identify pathogens even faster in the future, scientists are developing various methods, such as rapid tests, with which pathogens and possible resistances can be identified after just a few hours. This means that the right antibiotics can be given more quickly. “Current research projects also aim, for example with the help of artificial intelligence, to determine the optimal antibiotic dose for a patient and to monitor him at the same time,” explains Dr. Wilken.
Many ways lead to the goal
Most often people die of sepsis as a result of the destruction of the so-called “endothelial function” of their blood vessels. An endothelium is the inner skin of blood vessels that keeps them tight. But when there is inflammation or infection, intruders – such as bacteria – destroy these delicate blood vessel walls. A cascade can set in motion that leads to a complete breakdown of the blood circulation, an undersupply of internal organs and ultimately to the death of the patient. This is exactly where new, targeted therapies come in: “For example, research is being carried out on a biotechnological therapeutic approach that could counteract multiple organ failure as a result of sepsis within a few minutes. A monoclonal antibody binds to a specific hormone, which interrupts the cascade and stabilizes the blood circulation “explains Dr. Wilken. In addition, research groups found that the body’s own immune defense against certain bacteria is strengthened by giving the acetic acid salt sodium acetate, so that the body can better cope with the serious infection. “In cases that could be traced back to multi-resistant bacteria, injections with the acetic acid salt could significantly weaken the course of the disease,” adds Dr. Wilken. Good news for future sepsis therapy!
Andreas Aumann (press officer), Tel. 030 27909-123, [email protected]
Original content from: BPI Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry, transmitted by news aktuell