Siemens Healthineers has contracted with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to improve antibiotic treatment for sepsis patients. Sepsis is a life-threatening blood infection and the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals. Collaborating with Janus-I Science and Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), the team aspires to develop a new diagnostic tool using next-generation sequencing that within six hours of blood draw would rapidly detect and identify a range of bacteria and fungi, and provide information about their likely resistance to certain antibiotics. Successful completion of the three-year, $5.5 million contract would create a prototype that would support a critical clinical need: timely and targeted antibiotic treatment for patients potentially facing death from sepsis.

“To make a difference for patients, we need to push the boundaries of what we thought was possible through collaborative innovation,” said Rangarajan Sampath, PhD, head of the Center for Innovation for Diagnostics at Siemens Healthineers. “The bacteria causing sepsis have become ever more effective in evading generic treatment options and a more targeted, precision antimicrobial approach is critical. It’s within our capabilities as diagnostic test manufacturers to bridge this gap and support physicians by providing information they need as quickly as possible to treat their patients more precisely for better outcomes.” 

Dr. Robert A. Bonomo, Professor of Medicine at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine serving as co-Investigator on this project asserts, “Introducing pathogen-directed therapy that includes an analysis of the bacterial resistome can save lives and improve clinical outcomes from multidrug resistant blood stream infections. Having results directly from whole blood within six hours, an unprecedented time frame, can better inform treatment decisions.”

Sepsis occurs when a pre-existing infection triggers a chain reaction throughout a person’s body. In the U.S., sepsis affects approximately 1.7 million adults and results in approximately 350,000 deaths each year.1 The CDC estimates 1 in 3 people who die in a hospital had sepsis during that hospitalization.3 Sepsis also represents the costliest aggregate U.S. hospital expense, with the latest estimates totaling between $24-38 billion annually.4Overuse or misuse of antibiotics has resulted in rising antibiotic resistance, rendering antibiotics less effective and infections more difficult or impossible to treat. Mortality rates for patients with sepsis are estimated to be up to 50 percent if the infection is caused by a resistant pathogen that is treated with inadequate initial antibiotic therapy.5 Siemens Healthineers and its collaboration partners aim to reduce the number of sepsis-related deaths by providing physicians with additional information they need to help choose the most effective antibiotic for their patient’s particular bloodstream infection.


1 Sepsis Alliance

2 This product is under development and not commercially available. Its future availability cannot be ensured. This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. 75N93023C00025

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

4 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Inpatient Hospital Costs: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer, 2017

5 Critical Care Medicine Duration of hypotension before initiation of effective antimicrobial therapy is the critical determinant of survival in human septic shock