IONA® test for pregnant women safe, accurate – Medical Director

Supreme Desk
28 Jan 2022 2:07 PM GMT
IONA® test for pregnant women safe, accurate – Medical Director
The IONA® test is an advanced screening test carried out on a small blood sample taken from the mother’s arm with no risk of miscarriage.

Dr Anthonia Hananiya, Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of EHA Clinics, says the recently launched IONA® test, a non-invasive prenatal test for pregnant women, is safe, accurate, fast and qualitative. Hananiya made the assertion in an interview in Abuja on Friday.

Supreme reports that the IONA® test is carried out on pregnant women in order to estimate the risk of a fetus having Down's syndrome (T21), Edwards' syndrome (T18) and Patau's Syndrome (T13).

Giving update on the test, she maintained that it was safe because it is non-invasive with no risk of miscarriage, accurate with 98.8 per cent detection of trisomy conditions (21, 18 and 13).

The EHA Medical Director further clarified that IONA® test is fast, with results made available within eight to ten working days from sample receipt in the laboratory.

"It is also a qualitative test because it is a regulated screening test which is CE marked.

"The IONA® test is an advanced screening test carried out on a small blood sample taken from the mother's arm with no risk of miscarriage,'' she said.

Conformitè Europëenne (CE) Mark is defined as the European Union's (EU) mandatory conformity marking for regulating the goods sold within the European.

Hananiya, however, noted that IONA® test, like all other non-invasive prenatal tests, (NIPT), is a screening test and high risk results should be discussed with "your health care provider.''

She explained that there were many different NIPT at the market and the majority would screen for these three syndromes.

"Edwards' and Patau's syndrome are much rarer than Down's syndrome but are very serious and many affected babies die before or soon after birth.

"Trisomies occur when three, instead of the usual two copies of a chromosome are present,'' Hananiya said.

Explaining further, she said traditional screening offered during the first trimester of pregnancy was called the Combined Test, which is an ultrasound scan to measure the nuchal translucency (NT), combined with a blood test.

"This is less accurate than NIPT, detecting about 85 per cent of babies with Down's syndrome.

"The IONA® test has a higher detection rate than the Combined Test and is also better able to exclude false positives.

"This is when the test reports the baby is at high risk of having Down's syndrome but is actually unaffected,'' she told NAN.

She also said that the IONA® test was much better at ensuring the babies identified were truly high risk.

According to her, this allows the doctor to only refer the mother for an invasive test when it was highly likely that the baby was affected by a trisomy.

"This means fewer pregnant women will undergo unnecessary invasive follow-up procedure such as amniocentesis or CVS which can be stressful, painful and may carry a small risk of miscarriage.''

While clarifying how IONA® test works, Hananiya said the test was suitable from 10 weeks gestation, singleton or twin pregnancies, IVF, donor egg or surrogate pregnancies.

She warned that the test was unsuitable if the mother had received an organ transplant, had cancer, a chromosomal imbalance or a transfusion of heterologous cells in the last year.

Accordingly, she also said it was unsuitable if a mother has a complete or partial monosomy X also known as Turner's syndrome.

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