Universal Infectious Diseases test for a faster and accurate screening in healthcare

There are multiple diseases which get a significant share of media coverage due to their scale of impact on the healthcare system in the country, but there is one silent killer which affects a concerningly large number of people. Sepsis, a life-threatening organ failure, occurs when the body ends up injuring its own tissues and organs in response to an infection, leading to shock,  disability, multi-organ failure, and even death if left untreated in the early stages.  This may be a lesser known fact, but India accounts for the largest number of sepsis cases (11.3 million) and sepsis-related deaths (2.9 million) in the world, as per a global study conducted by US researchers in 2020 that covered almost 195 countries. (published in the Lancet).  That is 31,000 cases daily in the country. Despite significant measures that are being undertaken to bolster our healthcare systems and upgrade our technological prowess, India continues to battle with an enormous range of infectious diseases ranging from viral, bacterial, fungal to parasitic infections.

While adults above the age of 65, people with weakened immune systems, and those suffering from chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney disease are at higher risk for sepsis, it continues to disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, newborns, and people in low resource settings and income groups. To add to this disparity, data and statistics on cases of sepsis remain largely unreported with only hospitals and intensive care units in high income countries reporting the majority of cases, leading to countless deaths and ailments, and a persistent knowledge gap that keeps widening due to the paucity of data from the rest of the world. 

At present, blood cultures are considered to be the gold standard for identification of pathogens, however, they are not without their limitations as the process is very time consuming ,ranging from 1-5 days, and there is also a low  positivity rate in severe sepsis. Multiple PCR tests also do not facilitate the comprehensive identification of pathogens, and currently there are no specific tests for septic response. The Universal ID test promises to eliminate the need for multiple diagnostic testing for patients with fever and infections. The current multiple test paradigm is considered experimental and hence inefficient with almost 68% of the infectious patients going undiagnosed, as per FDA sources.

HaystackAnalytics has developed a Universal Infectious Diseases test that deploys Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology to give the clinician a screen of 200+ bacteria and fungi within a very short frame of time to start the right treatment at the earliestThe Universal Infectious Diseases (UID) test comes at an opportune time, as our learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic highlight the need for better diagnostic technologies, appropriate antibiotic use, and the renewed importance of infection prevention strategies. Speed and accuracy are critical in increasing survival rate of a patient. 

We have partnered with various diagnostic centers such as Apollo Hospital, Sterling Accuris, Metropolis, Thyrocare and over 20+ hospitals including AIIMS to bring these solution to enable a larger number of clinicians and hospitals to use this next generation technology to save lives. The Universal Infectious Diseases test developed by will be rolled out with their current partners in a phased manner over the next three months, and will be initially targeted at identifying and treating sepsis in ICU patients, but gradually be made available to anyone suffering from a fever of unknown origin, by eradicating the need to conduct multiple tests to diagnose the condition. 

Stressing on the need to ensure accurate and timely diagnosis of sepsis, Mr. Anirvan Chatterjee, Co Founder and CEO of Haystack Analytics, said, “Sepsis is a global health crisis, affecting approximately 50 million people every year. The introduction of Universal ID tests will bring about a rapid transformation in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis with a quick turnaround time of 12-15 hours only.” He further added, “Genomics is expanding the equality of access to healthcare and supporting clinicians by bringing timely, contextual, and comprehensive information. Haystack is an innovator and an enabler of an ecosystem that seeks to understand current challenges and problems to create and provide technologies to the best of our abilities.” Not only will these tests offer a quick turnaround time, but they will also be extremely cost effective and approximately 40-50% cheaper than the molecular tests which are currently available.