Global health systems' data science approach for precision diagnosis of sepsis in early life

Lancet Infect Dis. 2022 May;22(5):e143-e152. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(21)00645-9. Epub 2021 Dec 13.


Neonates and children in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) contribute to the highest number of sepsis-associated deaths globally. Interventions to prevent sepsis mortality are hampered by a lack of comprehensive epidemiological data and pathophysiological understanding of biological pathways. In this review, we discuss the challenges faced by LMICs in diagnosing sepsis in these age groups. We highlight a role for multi-omics and health care data to improve diagnostic accuracy of clinical algorithms, arguing that health-care systems urgently need precision medicine to avoid the pitfalls of missed diagnoses, misdiagnoses, and overdiagnoses, and associated antimicrobial resistance. We discuss ethical, regulatory, and systemic barriers related to the collection and use of big data in LMICs. Technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and medical tricorders might help, but they require collaboration with local communities. Co-partnering (joint equal development of technology between producer and end-users) could facilitate integration of these technologies as part of future care-delivery systems, offering a chance to transform the global management and prevention of sepsis for neonates and children.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Child
  • Data Science*
  • Developing Countries
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Sepsis* / diagnosis