A CRISPR-Based Assay for the Maternity Clinic
A CRISPR-based assay could improve pre-birth screening for group B Streptococcus
Michael Schubert | | Quick Read
In the final weeks of pregnancy, most expecting mothers are screened for group B Streptococcus (GBS) colonization. Why? Because, when transmitted to a baby during birth, the common infection is one of the leading causes of neonatal illness and death – and easily prevented with the use of prophylactic antibiotics.
But screening may be unreliable because traditional culture-based methods take time, meaning that they must be performed several weeks before birth, when predictive values are lower. A new assay, CRISPR-GBS, uses CRISPR/Cas technology to offer a rapid point-of-care test for GBS that can help doctors determine which patients require prophylaxis (1). The test demonstrated high sensitivity (≥94 percent), short turnaround times (<1.5 hours), and the ability to identify even GBS cases deemed negative using culture-based methods, PCR testing, or both. Next stop? A larger, multi-center study that tests the assay’s performance in a variety of clinical settings.
- L Jiang et al., Emerg Infect Dis, 27, 2379 (2021). PMID: 34424183.