A couple weeks ago, the Daily Mail (which is the British print version of Fox News) announced a “Cheap, new test for Down’s that can be carried out at home: Instant results 90% accurate, say British makers”
The article seems to suggest, although it is not entirely clear, that this will be to Down syndrome testing what hCG detection was to pregnancy testing. At home! In private! No doctors involved!
What’s not entirely clear, however, is whether this is the best idea ever. Or, as Chris Kaposy puts it in Do we really need an even better test for Down syndrome?: “There is an inconsistency between the lived experience of people who have Down syndrome and the corporate arms race to develop new and better means for identifying fetuses with Down syndrome…In contrast to the scientist who devotes her life to the treatment of cancer, Dr. Iles’s devotion to create a test that helps parents to avoid the birth of people who tend to enjoy their lives seems somehow less ambitious, or off the mark.”
On a completely different front, it’s unknown what the regulatory agencies will think of the whole thing, since the only thing “stopping” them from regulating NIPT so far has been that it is a lab developed test and not a test kit. This seems to pretty clearly be a test kit. So have fun with that, FDA.
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