Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has licensed its rapid molecular diagnostic for Group B streptococcus to HiberGene Diagnostics Ltd.
Group B streptococcus (GBS, Streptococcus agalactiae) is a common bacterium that infects many humans without obvious symptoms. However, neonatal Group B streptococcal infection is a devastating disease with high mortality. While it can in principle be prevented by administration of antibiotics during labour, availability of a convenient and rapid diagnostic to target high risk groups could reduce over-administration of antibiotics.
Belfast Trust scientists and clinicians selected a Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification method based on their previous success developing a test for Neisseria meningitidis, a bacterium that causes meningitis (see here). The Group B streptococcus assay is 100% sensitive and 93% specific when compared to direct culture.