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 GBS.
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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