16 June 2021
Over a quarter of the world’s population resides in Southeast Asia, with over 70 million people in Thailand alone. Now, many of the growing families in this region will be able to better prepare for the next stage of their lives, with genomics providing more accurate and accessible data than ever before.
While prenatal screening has been available for over 30 years, conventional tests (such as maternal serum screening) are limited in their ability to screen beyond the common trisomies of chromosomes 21, 18, and 13. Moreover, confirming positive findings was only possible via invasive testing—such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS)—which carry a small risk of complications, such as miscarriage.
A number of new guidelines support the idea that non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) positively impacts the quality of care for expectant mothers in more ways than one. Granting access to NIPT provides valuable insights about the health of a pregnancy to inform decision making. And due to its non-invasive approach via a maternal blood draw, it also provides an easy and safe testing procedure.
Committed to improving human health by unlocking the power of the genome, Illumina has partnered with Next Generation Genomic Co., Ltd. (NGG Thailand), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders in laboratory services and reproductive science, to launch the availability of the CE-IVD VeriSeq™ NIPT Solution v2 in Thailand following its regulatory approval in November 2020 . Local government and healthcare providers have welcomed this news as CE-IVD-based NIPT allows broader access to accurate and reliable testing for thousands of expectant parents.
Using Illumina’s CE-IVD VeriSeq NIPT Solution v2, NGG Thailand’s Qualifi Prenatal Test delivers an expanded view of the fetal genome compared to other NIPT products, enabling healthcare providers the ability to offer reliable testing beyond the common trisomies.
“With expanded NIPT, healthcare providers can obtain a comprehensive view of all 23 chromosome pairs while limiting risk to their patient,” said Associate Professor Boonsri Chanrachakul, M.D., Ph.D., OB/GYN specializing in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand. “This technique will offer accurate, sensitive, and specific screening for chromosomal changes and provide more information to healthcare providers and expectant parents to empower their journey through pregnancy.” Illumina’s VeriSeq NIPT Solution v2 screens for aneuploidies of all chromosomes, and large copy number variants associated with adverse clinical outcomes.
“This technique will offer accurate, sensitive, and specific screening for chromosomal changes and provide more information to healthcare providers and expectant parents to empower their journey through pregnancy.”
For parents like Sawanya C, access to testing of this calibre, allows not only for ease of mind but arms her with critical information to prepare and manage her pregnancy.
“As this was our first pregnancy, I asked our healthcare professional about the ways we could gain more insight into the genetic health of our child. This was particularly important to me in order to ensure that my family and I were emotionally prepared for our new arrival,” said Sawanya C.
“Knowing we had looked into this, given all the complexities of bringing a child into the world, and the reassurance that Qualifi uses highly advanced technology for accurate and safe testing, allowed us to coordinate with our healthcare professionals both prior to and at my delivery.”
Illumina Vice President and General Manager of Asia Pacific and Japan, Ms Gretchen Weightman, explained that the availability of VeriSeq NIPT Solution v2 is a key milestone for expectant parents living in Thailand.
“Illumina’s comprehensive technologies, coupled with NGG Thailand’s expertise, will enable healthcare providers and families, like Sawanya C, to unlock the most critical information possible today,” Ms Weightman said.
The CE-IVD VeriSeq NIPT Solution v2 is now registered for use in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, South Africa and across most countries in Europe.
Learn more about VeriSeq NIPT Solution v2.