Last Friday, Abi Dawson, our new Governor and former parent, spoke in the Headmaster’s Assembly about Sepsis Research FEAT. This year, the School is proud to be supporting the only UK charity that is dedicated to saving lives and improving outcomes for sepsis patients through world-leading research.
She was introduced to the School by this year’s charity committee, and in particular, Thomas Llewellyn (Upper Sixth), who contracted sepsis in February 2019 and was generous enough to share his story with the School.
Globally, sepsis kills 11 million people every year. It is a bigger killer than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Fifty-two per cent of the 250,000 UK cases of sepsis annually are under 19 years old and, surprisingly, sepsis is the number one cause of preventable death in the world. Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection spirals rapidly out of control, injuring its own tissues and organs. It can be triggered by any manner of infection in any part of the body. It is an indiscriminate, deadly condition that can kill a healthy person in a matter of hours. Not enough is understood about the condition and the biological processes that cause death by sepsis. That is why more research is needed.
This is also why Abi shared with the School the five common symptoms of sepsis as prompt diagnosis and treatment can help to save lives and improve outcomes for sepsis survivors.
Sepsis Research FEAT’s work has proved vitally important in the country’s response to COVID-19. The charity’s pioneering research partnership, with the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, looks at the role genes play in determining susceptibility to critical illnesses like sepsis. The researchers are comparing the DNA from those who survive sepsis with those who die to unlock clues to help #StopSepsisNow.
Between March 2020 and March 2021, the GenOMICC study collected some 12,000 samples from patients critically ill with COVID-19. The study was in a unique position to perform the same research as planned with sepsis for COVID-19. Findings as early as summer 2020 went on to identify five ‘faulty’ genes, as well as drug treatments that could be re-purposed including Dexamethasone and Baricitinib. These findings have saved the lives of, and improved the outcomes for, COVID patients across the world.
Sepsis Research FEAT has also provided materials for our A Level Biologists via its SEPS_IS (Sepsis In Schools) resources.
To find out more about Sepsis Research FEAT, and their groundbreaking research, please do visit their website – www.sepsisresearch.org.uk.