Research aims to inform better use of antibiotics in treating sepsis

It is a year since the PRONTO trial started recruitment. This £1.96 million NIHR HTA award is designed to look at improving the use of antibiotics in suspected sepsis.

The milestone has been reached during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), which aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

The PRONTO trial is recruiting those presenting to emergency departments with suspected sepsis to see if a 20 minute test can help to recognise those most likely to benefit from immediate antibiotics (within one hour) and those who can safely wait up to three hours for initial assessment and investigations to have more targeted initiation of antibiotics or avoid them altogether. The aim is to safely reduce the amount of unnecessary antibiotics being prescribed, which experts cite as a significant factor leading to increasing antimicrobial resistance.

Dr Stacy Todd, LHP’s Infection Programme Director, and Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is Co-Chief Investigator for PRONTO trial, with Professor Neil French of the University of Liverpool.

Dr Todd said: “Antibiotics save lives but we also know that inappropriate use of antibiotics creates problems for the future. This trial is about ensuring people are getting the right treatment at the right time now and in years to come.”

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection and it is estimated that 52,000 people in the UK die every year as a result of it. Optimal treatment includes early recognition, prompt antibiotics and fluids.

PRONTO aims to recruit 7,676 across the UK at 18 hospitals, with Liverpool as the lead site.

Dr Joanne Euden the Trial Manager at Cardiff University has written a blog to mark one year of PRONTO which you can read here.

You can learn more about the trial by watching this short video.