The form of blood poisoning kills more than 50,000 people per year, which is more than those who lose their life to prostate cancer of bowel cancer.
Following a decade of research, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has developed a new test to diagnose sepsis that could save more than six million lives each year.
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition, triggered by an infection or injury. Without quick treatment, it can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
The World Health Organization says more than 30 million people worldwide every year.
In recognition for their work, scientists at DSTL won the 2018 Military Awards' 'Innovation' category.
“Sepsis is the way the body responds to an infection, so it is always triggered by an infection but in sepsis the body’s immune system goes into overdrive and if we don’t stop it that starts to damage the organs and tissues,” Dr Ron Daniels, Chief Executive of UK Sepsis Trust, explained.
Almost 150,000 people are admitted to hospital for sepsis treatment every year.
“We decided to think about alternative ways to diagnose infection.
"So instead of waiting for somebody to be ill, and become symptomatic, and have a short treatment window, we thought, why not try and treat them or diagnose them before they became ill,” Dr Roman Lukaszewski, Diagnostics Fellow at DSTL, said.
“We have found the signature, we have something upon which we can build a box that you can take into the field and test personnel."