Wageningen University & Research: WUR students develop a rapid test to check for sepsis

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The SensUs Challenge is an annual international student contest organised by the TU Eindhoven, which aims to accelerate the innovation of biosensors in health care. Each year, SensUs focuses on a different disease. The participating teams of this year’s edition were asked to develop a biosensor for sepsis, otherwise known as blood poisoning.

Inge Braak and Iris Janssen study Biotechnology and jointly headed the nine-person-strong SenseWURk team this last year. Braak: ‘A biosensor is a tiny device that is used to transform the concentration of a particular substance in your blood into a measurement signal. The assignment was to design a biosensor capable of recognising a particular biomarker. This year, the biomarker was Interleukin-6 or IL-6, a substance produced by your body in the case of infections.’ Janssen adds: ‘The body may sometimes react violently to an infection, causing severe illness. When that happens, your body produces high levels of IL-6. The concentration of IL-6 in your blood thus shows the stage of your sepsis.’

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