New test will diagnose the presence of Group B Streptococcus in pregnant
women and neonates
The GBS test, which has been developed for use in clinical settings, can
be used to rapidly and accurately diagnose the presence of Group B
Streptococcus in pregnant women and neonates. The test takes under an
hour, is highly accurate and can be tested near patient, without the
need for expensive laboratory equipment.
GBS is the most common infectious cause of neonatal meningitis, and can
also cause septicaemia and pneumonia. The infection can be transmitted
to a child during gestation and labour, causing fatal consequences in up
to 10% of cases. In addition, up to 30% of those infected can suffer
permanent disabilities such as cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and
learning difficulties. Up to 30% of pregnant women can be infected with
Current screening methods for GBS use cell culture with an enrichment
step, and can take up to 48 hours. Hibergene’s GBS test takes up to an
hour and can be performed outside the laboratory setting.
Brendan Farrell, CEO of HiberGene, said: “GBS is a significant cause
of mortality and morbidity in neonates, which can be easily diagnosed
and treated. The HG GBS test can be used to rapidly test for the
presence of GBS in both the birth canal and the neonate, and if
detected, the appropriate treatment can be administered.
“The launch of the HG GBS test expands Hibergene’s portfolio of tests
in areas of unmet clinical need. Hibergene launched its HG Meningococcal
test in November 2015 and plans to release further tests for C.difficile
and Norovirus later this year. This portfolio of infectious disease
tests will ensure that Hibergene is well positioned for future growth.”
The test was developed in the Royal
Victoria Hospital, Belfast Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust with
funding received from the Health and Social Care (HSC) R+D Division in
Northern Ireland. It was subsequently licensed exclusively by HSC
Innovations to HiberGene from the Belfast HSC Trust.
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