Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center — Sepsis Therapy (Michael Donnino)

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Award Date:
To support Dr. Michael Donnino to conduct a multicenter clinical trial of a therapy for severe sepsis.

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended a grant of $2,939,400 to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to support a multicenter clinical trial of a new therapy for severe sepsis, led by Dr. Michael Donnino of Harvard. Sepsis, most commonly the result of bacterial infection of the lungs or other organs, is a significant cause of mortality both in the United States and worldwide, resulting in an estimated 5.3 million deaths annually.{footnote_1}

The trial will test the utility of a therapy first described by Dr. Paul E. Marik and colleagues, which involved administering a combination of drugs that included hydrocortisone and thiamine with ascorbic acid to treat patients with severe sepsis.{footnote_2} Dr. Marik’s treatment suggested significant improvements in outcomes, however the study was small and not randomized, and so the results are merely suggestive of impact. The new trial, led by Dr. Donnino with Dr. Marik as a co-investigator, is intended to more rigorously test the treatment through a larger, randomized study. If shown to be effective, Open Philanthropy believes the treatment could be adopted relatively quickly around the world, as the necessary components are both inexpensive and readily available. Open Philanthropy therefore views this funding as an opportunity to substantially accelerate the adoption of a potentially life-saving therapy.

This grant falls within Open Philanthropy's interest in funding scientific research.

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