The Health Research Authority in England and Health and Care Research in Wales granted ethics approval for the Group B Strep trial in newborn babies earlier this month.
The £2.8 million trial funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) will be conducted across 80 hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland and include at least 320,000. The trial will explore the efficacy of two different tests compared with standard care:
- a lab-based Enriched Culture Medium (ECM) test conducted at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy; and
- a ‘bedside test’ at the onset of labour.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists currently recommends testing all high-risk groups in late pregnancy using the ECM test.
The trial findings will be utilised to inform the future of pregnancy care across the UK. Health Minister Nadine Dorries said: "We want the NHS to be the safest place in the world to give birth and this trial will be an important step in understanding if universal screening of Group B Strep can save the lives of more babies."