Prevention is Possible
July is International Group B Strep (GBS) Awareness Month. Given the serious consequences GBS has for babies, we at Hologic seek to raise awareness about the importance of GBS testing and promote healthy outcomes for babies worldwide. Tragically, many families first hear about GBS only after their baby is seriously ill. The disease affects an estimated 409,000 mothers and babies a year around the world and results in 147,000 infant deaths.1 Babies who survive GBS infection may be left with a moderate to severe disability including cerebral palsy, hearing loss, sight loss and learning difficulties.2
When transmitted to babies during childbirth, GBS can lead to sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis and death.3
Many may be surprised to learn that the rate of GBS colonization in pregnant women ranges from 10% to 30%.3 The guidelines call for pregnant women to be routinely tested for GBS with a vaginal/rectal swab test during the 36th or 37th week of pregnancy to identify the presence of the bacteria.4 For those who test positive, providers may administer antibiotics during delivery to reduce the chance of transmission. While there are two main methods available for GBS testing, culture and nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), the predominant culture-based diagnostics have been shown to be a poor predictor for GBS colonization in labor, producing false negative results and leaving babies vulnerable to infection.5
81% of mothers whose neonates contracted GBS in the first 6 days of life had a negative culture-based swab test.6,7
But, better detection is possible.
Fortunately, there is a way to help protect babies from group B strep—by screening moms with a more sensitive testing option. By utilizing Hologic’s Panther Fusion® GBS assay, a NAAT with excellent sensitivity and performance, providers can detect GBS in mothers to confidently prescribe needed prophylaxis during delivery.
The Panther Fusion GBS assay is a real-time PCR assay for antepartum detection of GBS and during the clinical trial demonstrated 100% clinical sensitivity. 8 As compared to culture-based diagnostics, screening in the prenatal period with the highly sensitive Panther Fusion GBS assay has the potential to significantly reduce the number of false negative test results that contribute to neonate morbidity and mortality.9 With NAATs as the new gold standard for intrapartum GBS screening, mothers and providers can gain peace of mind using the most sensitive test available.9
As a dedicated sponsor of the International Conference on Group B Strep (ICGBS) 2021, Hologic joins the global community in raising awareness of GBS and the life-saving utility of NAATs in combating this preventable disease. Join us this July to raise awareness, share best practices, and help save lives.