Research into a new drug therapy to fight sepsis has shown that it has the potential to stop sepsis-causing bacteria from triggering organ damage in the early stages of the condition.
The pre-clinical trial of the drug InnovoSep, carried out by researchers at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has demonstrated that the drug also has the potential to stop the progression of sepsis to multiple organ failure in the later stages.
The identification of a new therapy is seen as critical as current research from the World Sepsis Alliance suggests that the incidence of sepsis is growing annually by 8%.
Sepsis, otherwise known as blood poisoning, is a silent killer because it is unpredictable, rapid and can go undiagnosed due to its non-specific signs and symptoms.
Symptoms of sepsis mimic those of the flu - high temperature, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, pain, pale or mottled skin, and feeling generally very sick.
The main difference between sepsis symptoms and flu is that sepsis will come on very quickly whereas flu comes on over days.
There are almost 15,000 cases of sepsis each year in Ireland with almost 3,000 deaths.
The condition kills more people than either heart attack, lung cancer, colon cancer or breast cancer. A staggering 60% of all hospital deaths has a sepsis or infection diagnosis.