EChiLiBRiST (Enhancing Children’s Lives with Biomarkers for Risk Stratification and Triage) is the international consortium of which the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital is a part and which has the task of developing a predictive test on the evolution of febrile states in children. Fever is in fact one of the most important signs of infectious diseases which, if left untreated, can even lead to death. The 5-year project is funded by the European Union.
Fever is a key indicator of infectious disease. Over a billion fever episodes are recorded in the world every year. In sub-Saharan Africa, a child under the age of 5 experiences an average of up to 6 episodes of fever per year. While most episodes are mild, some can progress to life-threatening illness. In sub-Saharan Africa, 50% of fever deaths among children occur at the community level, with no access to health care.
EChiLiBRiST (Enhancing Children’s Lives with Biomarkers for Risk Stratification and Triage) is a consortium of 13 institutions across Europe, the UK, Africa and Canada. The aim of the consortium is to develop and clinically validate a predictive test to improve the risk stratification of febrile syndromes and improve the survival of children. The five-year project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.
Work will be divided into two phases. The first will concern the design and validation of the device. The second will instead concern clinical studies in 3 African countries which will be used to evaluate the impact of introduction of the device for risk stratification purposes, to improve results, to guide management and optimize costs.
“Fever is an excellent warning system for clinicians, but it is often difficult to distinguish fevers caused by life-threatening infections from those caused by benign, self-limiting conditions. With the EChiLiBRiST project, we aim to measure bedside biomarkers of severity, with the hope of transforming fever management globally. With a sharper focus on patients who truly require priority interventions, we can reduce mortality, disability and health care costs”, explains Quique Bassat, principal investigator of the project.
In addition to the clinical and technological rigor of the study, there are other notable aspects, including the interdisciplinary approach aimed at ensuring that the new tool is compatible for use in low-income settings. Furthermore, the project also provides for the training of 3 African graduates from the participating countries (Mozambique, Ethiopia and Gabon) with different disciplinary backgrounds.