Faster tests to fight viral infections

Personalised respiratory medicine

Dr Tristan Clark, a consultant and researcher in infectious diseases, has been awarded funding to investigate new point-of-care tests to quickly diagnose viral infections.

Respiratory viruses, including those that cause flu and the common cold, pose a major challenge to our health and the NHS's provision of care, causing large numbers of hospital admissions every winter.

Current diagnosis of a viral infection sees a sample be sent for laboratory analysis, taking up to 24 hours for the doctor to receive the results.

Consultant Dr Tristan Clark, a researcher in our NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, has now been awarded an NIHR postdoctoral fellowship to pursue his research into new point-of-care tests aimed at giving a diagnosis within an hour.

Improving patient care

These Point-of-care tests could greatly improve acute care for patients, enabling viral infections to be treated effectively before they can get any worse and manage potential infection of other patients.

Early diagnosis may also help to avoid the unnecessary use of antibiotics,  only effective against bacterial and fungal infections, a key factor in growing antibiotic resistance. 

Advancing research

The new award will allow Dr Clark to continue combining research with patient care in infectious disease, as he investigates point-of-care testing at University Hospital Southampton.

Alongside his work into improved diagnostic tests, Dr Clark’s research has involved the development of vaccines during swine flu and bird flu pandemics. After originally training in infectious diseases and general internal medicine in Leicester, he has spent time working in London, Sudan and Australia.  

Posted on Monday 15 August 2016