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Aurora magazine

The future of non-invasive prenatal screening is a drop of blood

They are imposing more and more methods for non-invasive prenatal screening. It speaks specifically of tests that start at a drop of blood of the mother, therefore completely safe for the fetus. For the moment the most common is for Down syndrome, but international research is developing new solutions.

The non-invasive prenatal screening test for Down's syndrome is available in over 60 countries worldwide, including the US and Australia. It is also becoming increasingly popular even in the British and Italian ones in hospitals. A team from the University of Hong Kong is working to create a similar test, it can also identify other monofactorial diseases, or caused by the anomaly of a single gene.

The test analyzes the DNA present in the mother's blood and look abnormal levels of mutations associated with particular diseases. A procedure which, if done in a traditional manner, would require around two weeks. The test developed by the University of China is able to detect the disease at most within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. This allows parents to take their time for decisions.

In the first trial, the new test has identified the monofactorial diseases of all 12 samples analyzed.