Newborn screening (NBS) is a public health program of screening in infants shortly after birth for conditions that are treatable, but not clinically evident in the newborn period. The goal is to identify infants at risk for these conditions early enough to confirm the diagnosis and provide intervention that will alter the clinical course of the disease and prevent or ameliorate the clinical manifestations. NBS started with the discovery that the amino acid disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) could be treated by dietary adjustment, and that early intervention was required for the best outcome. Infants with PKU appear normal at birth, but are unable to metabolize the essential amino acid phenylalanine, resulting in irreversible intellectual disability.
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Governmental Support Key for Development of Newborn Screening Market
Screening programs are often run by state or national governing bodies with the goal of screening all infants born in the jurisdiction for a defined panel of treatable disorders. The number of diseases screened for is set by each jurisdiction, and can vary greatly. Most NBS tests are done by measuring metabolites or enzyme activity in whole blood samples collected on filter paper. Bedside tests for hearing loss using automated auditory brainstem response and congenital heart defects using pulse oximetry are included in some NBS programs. Infants who screen positive undergo further testing to determine if they are truly affected with a disease or if the test result was a false positive. Follow-up testing is typically coordinated between geneticists and the infant’s pediatrician or primary care physician.
The newborn screening market features an intensely competitive vendor landscape with the presence of several large medical devices manufacturing companies in the fray. Product innovation and development of existing products is the key focus of keen players in the newborn screening market to consolidate their position. These players are investing heavily in R&D and capital investments for such initiatives. M&As and strategic collaborations is also what keen players are engaged in to garner higher revenue share in the newborn screening market.
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