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Newborn infection trial ‘will fail’ unless Government intervenes, experts warn

A clinical trial to test pregnant women for Group B Strep (GBS) – the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies – will fail unless the Government intervenes, experts have warned.

Some 80 hospitals are needed for the trial to go ahead but only 32 have committed to it, with a deadline for registering of September.

The trial is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and will look at whether testing women for Group B Strep reduces the risk of babies dying or suffering harm.

Now Dr Jane Plumb, chief executive of Group B Strep Support, who lost her son Theo to the infection, is calling on the Government and NHS England to intervene to make sure the trial goes ahead.

She said: “The reality is that unless a further 48 hospitals sign up for this trial, then it will fail.

“The Government is waiting for the results from this trial to determine whether to test pregnant women for Group B Strep.

“Yet there seems to be little acknowledgement that this trial is heading towards failure.

“We need more hospitals on board and we need to make sure that the investment in this trial is not wasted.

“This is about saving the lives of babies, and it really is now or never.”

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Source: The Independent, 20 June 2022


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