GBS is a bacterium naturally carried by some women. If passed from a mother to her baby during labor, it can lead to serious health consequences for the newborn and even death from illnesses including meningitis, blood poisoning or pneumonia.1 The approval follows Group B Strep Awareness Month, the July initiative to promote awareness and prevention of GBS during pregnancy through early infancy.
The new Panther Fusion GBS assay brings excellent performance and automation to detecting this bacterium.2 In fact, clinical research showed the Panther Fusion GBS assay exhibited 100 percent sensitivity compared to culture-based testing methods.2 The assay will also increase testing options for healthcare providers, as it is validated for the two enrichment broths that make up 95 percent of the samples used on the market. The assay also has less stringent requirements for clinical sample storage and transport than culture-based tests.3
"A nucleic acid amplification test is the most sensitive and reliable screening method available today for identifying pregnant women who are carriers of this serious bacterium," said Tom West, president of the Diagnostic Solutions Division at Hologic. "As a leader in diagnostics for women, our commitment to providing high quality, life-saving solutions now extends to newborns, who can be fatally impacted by GBS infection."
Guidelines Recommend All Pregnant Women Be Tested
If a pregnant woman carries the GBS bacterium—Streptococcus agalactiae—it can spread to the amniotic fluid after the onset of labor, ultimately transmitting to the baby during childbirth.3 While common and not harmful to healthy adults, the bacterium can cause serious health consequences or even death if passed to an infant.3 An estimated 18 percent of women in the U.S. are carriers, making universal screening imperative so that perinatal transmission to the baby can be prevented.4
Since the first screening guidelines were put in place in the 1990s, the rate of early-onset GBS has decreased almost 86 percent1, and today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all pregnant women at 35-37 weeks' gestation be tested for GBS. This recommendation is endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Society for Microbiology.4
Panther Fusion: Enhanced Value through an Expanded Menu
The Panther Fusion module can be added to existing Panther systems to extend testing capabilities. The Panther Fusion system adds the capacity to run polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays to the transcription-mediated amplification (TMA) assays that are performed on the base Panther system. As a result, labs will retain all the key benefits of the Panther platform—including full sample-to-result automation, the ability to run multiple tests from a single sample, random and continuous access, sample processing with rapid turnaround time and STAT capabilities—while simultaneously streamlining and refining specimen processing to maximize efficiency.
The Panther Fusion GBS assay joins the Panther Fusion Flu A/B/RSV, Panther Fusion Paraflu, and Panther Fusion AdV/hMPV/RV assays, all of which received FDA clearance in 2017. The GBS assay has also been CE-marked for diagnostic use and is commercially available in Europe.
1 CDC. Group B Strep – Clinical Overview. May 23, 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/clinicians/clinical-overview.html. Accessed July 27, 2018.
2 Panther Fusion GBS assay [US package insert]. AW-17997, Rev. 001. San Diego, CA: Hologic, Inc.; 2018.
3 CDC. Prevention of Perinatal Group B Streptococcal Disease. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2010;59(No. RR-10):1-34.
4 Seale AC, Bianchi-Jassir F, Russell NJ, et al. Estimates of the Burden of Group B Streptococcal Disease Worldwide for Pregnant Women, Stillbirths, and Children. Clin Infect Dis. 2017 6;65(suppl_2):S200-S219.