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Diagnostics Point of care testing, Microbiology and immunology

A CRISPR-Based Assay for the Maternity Clinic

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.

Credit: Nurul Hanifah (CC BY-SA 3.0).
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  1. L Jiang et al., Emerg Infect Dis, 27, 2379 (2021). PMID: 34424183.
About the Author
Michael Schubert

While obtaining degrees in biology from the University of Alberta and biochemistry from Penn State College of Medicine, I worked as a freelance science and medical writer. I was able to hone my skills in research, presentation and scientific writing by assembling grants and journal articles, speaking at international conferences, and consulting on topics ranging from medical education to comic book science. As much as I’ve enjoyed designing new bacteria and plausible superheroes, though, I’m more pleased than ever to be at Texere, using my writing and editing skills to create great content for a professional audience.

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