New blood test for fetal anomalies being launched

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Associated Press

Posted on May 7, 2012 at 2:01 PM

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A new, noninvasive test to detect certain fetal abnormalities early in pregnancy is being launched and should be widely available next month.

The Harmony Prenatal Test can detect whether a fetus has an extra chromosome, instead of the normal pair. Such abnormalities, called trisomies (TREYE'soh-mees), include the one that causes Down syndrome.

Ariosa Diagnostics Inc., which makes molecular diagnostics tests, says Harmony can detect trisomies in women at least 10 weeks pregnant with a single fetus. It's done from done from a simple blood draw from the mother at a doctor's office or test center.

The San Jose, Calif., company says its test is less expensive than rivals', with a list price of $795, and it's nearly as accurate as invasive tests.

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