The discovery
Severe infections like meningitis and pneumonia are called invasive infections. They kill millions of children in the world every year, especially in the low-income countries.
Diagnosis of infectious disease is important to start the correct antibiotic therapy for the sick child and to protect those who live with him or her.
The established method, based on microbiologic cultures, has poor sensitivity and it often takes several days before a diagnosis is obtained.

We developed a method that is not based on a bacterial culture, the method looks for the DNA in biological samples such as blood, cerebrospinal fluid or pleural fluid.
The method we developed has a sensitivity that is at least double that of old culture methods (and it is at least 7 times more sensitive in pneumonia). The cost is lower than that of culture and, above all, the diagnosis is obtained in less than 1 hour.

The ongoing project
We have started a pilot project in Italy, and we are routinely testing all samples coming from different Italian regions, drawn from children with meningitis or pleuritis.
We have published the results of our research in many famous medical journals for infectious diseases. Researchers from other laboratories in the world have asked us to teach them the method, and we have already had the opportunity to share with them our data and teach them our method.

The “Help the Children Florence” project: Research continues
Infectious diseases are the major killers of children in Africa and in Nairobi. Our aim is to allow the Nairobi Hospital (Neema Nami) serving the lower classes of the city, to use our molecular method.
Samples from other regions could also be sent to the Neema Nami Hospital, since the samples can be spotted on filter paper and shipped to the laboratory.

The money donated will be used to buy a thermal cycler for the Neema Nami Hospital that will be used to provide diagnosis of meningitis, pneumonia or other severe infections so that children will be cured with effective therapy.

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