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Home Industry News Trial screenings of SCID in babies to be carried out by NHS

Trial screenings of SCID in babies to be carried out by NHS

7th December 2017

The government has announced a new trial that will allow the NHS to assess whether screening babies for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) would be beneficial.

Following a review of the available evidence, the UK National Screening Committee has recommended that screening for SCID should be tried for a period of time in the NHS, allowing information about the practicalities and likely effect of screening to be gathered.

SCID affects the development of white blood cells and can make it difficult to fight infections. Around 15 to 25 babies are born with the condition every year in the UK, with bone marrow transplants to repair the damaged immune system the most common form of treatment.

The new trial will specifically look at how many false positive cases result from screening, as well as the care and treatment options on offer to babies with other conditions that cause low numbers of white blood cells.

Professor Anne Mackie, director of programmes for the UK National Screening Committee, said: "We need to find out if screening for SCID would provide overall benefits or do more harm by falsely diagnosing those without the condition."

The committee also confirmed that it will not be recommending screening for cytomegalovirus and biliary atresia in newborns, human T-cell lymphotropic virus in pregnancy, and iron deficiency anaemia in children under five years.

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