GenWorks Partners with PerkinElmer to launch a technology that is saving risky baby lives

S GANESHPRASAD - CEO of Genworks

GenWorks Partners with PerkinElmer to launch a technology that is saving risky baby lives

Marrying blood relatives, is one of the common cultural practices in India that endangers the health and lives of many newborns, every year.

A recent study published in the Karnataka Paediatric Journal shows that such infants are at a higher risk of developing certain metabolic disorders leading to intellectual disability, developmental delay, and other behavioural abnormalities, medically known as inborn errors of metabolism (IEM).

Early screening of these babies can prevent serious and life-threatening consequences by timely intervention. Around 27 million babies are born in India, every year. Out of this nearly 1 in 2497 babies are born with IEM. But how do you know which baby needs treatment, as newborns can only cry.

Victor2™D, a patented device, when used with an appropriate IVD assay can detect, measure, and quantify the presence or absence of enzymes in a baby’s body.

“It is (Victor2™D) as simple as doing any routine blood test,” said Mayank Kumar Srivastava, general manager, product and markets, India South Asia, PerkinElmer.

For instance, Galactosemia is a common enzyme deficiency disorder among newborns in India. The Indian Pediatrics Journal estimates that around 39,000 children are born, annually, with this disorder, causing significant morbidity and mortality in childhood.

A newborn with galactosemia disorder may appear normal at birth. Symptoms start to show up within a few days after they begin to drink breast milk.

The baby first loses their appetite and starts vomiting. Then they get jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and the whites of their eyes. Diarrhoea is common, too.

The disease leads to severe weight loss and the baby struggles to grow and thrive. Without treatment, over time the child may develop cataracts and may be susceptible to infections.

“Certain enzymes help a baby in digesting milk and turning it into energy. But if the enzyme is not there or remains submissive in the first 48 to 72 hours, the baby may even die,” said Srivastava.

“In such cases we need to withdraw milk from a baby’s diet and start giving soya milk, so that the baby can be saved. But without the screening test we won’t know.”

Victor2™D, functions on a patented technology known as DELFIA.

“With the help of lanthanide, Victor2™D prolongs the visibility of the enzyme, allowing a trained technician to do the analysis more accurately,” said Srivastava.

“The analysis can’t be done, if you don’t get that prolonged visibility, which is why we did some interventions and got that technology patented,” said Srivastava.

Once the analysis is done, the report goes to a pediatrician, who then decides the line of treatment after seeing if there is any metabolic disorder or not.

“It requires about two to three hours of incubation time to perform this kind of analysis,” added Srivastava. Along with GALT deficiency Victor2™D is also used to screen congenital hyperthyroidism (CH), another common metabolic disorder, among the Indian population.

Mr S Ganesh Prasad Founder, MD & CEO GenWorks said “ GenWorks has made a pioneering effort to put together best in class technology for Newborn Care. Our care for new born has impacted outcomes for more than a million lives all the way from saving lives to providing a quality life that every new born deserves.

Mr Prasad further added “Our portfolio in newborn care is complete from early screening, early diagnosis, focused treatment and development care. Our connected care platform provides specialist access anywhere in the country.”

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