Now more than ever, there is a need for tests to quickly diagnose infectious diseases. In general, current hospital laboratory tests are relatively slow with standard microbiology specimens often taking 2-3 days to be fully processed. Novel rapid diagnostic tests promise to revolutionise the field. They have the potential to provide accurate detection of infectious diseases within hours or even minutes. This could enable quicker access to the most effective treatments and efficient delivery of infection prevention and control measures. However these technologies require robust evidence to support their possible benefits before they can be widely used.
As the Newcastle NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative, infection was a successful theme leading to the introduction of a near bedside influenza test at Newcastle Hospitals. As the NIHR Newcastle MIC we have continued to build our expertise in this area. We are a key part of CONDOR (the COVID-19 National DiagnOstic Research and Evaluation Platform). This is a national partnership which involves collaborating with the other three In Vitro Diagnostic MICs and the Manchester Diagnostics and Technology Accelerator to robustly evaluate new COVID-19 tests in hospitals and the wider community.
The theme is led by Dr. Ashley Price, consultant in Infectious diseases and medical lead for COVID-19 vaccine in the North East and Cumbria. Ashley was previously Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Newcastle Hospitals.
Our areas of focus, along with COVID-19 and other seasonal respiratory viral illnesses, are tests for: sepsis; hospital acquired infection; urinary tract infections; paediatric infections and identification of antimicrobial resistance.