NICE recommends a genetic test that can prevent deafness in newborn babies

A genetic test to determine if a newborn baby is vulnerable to deafness if treated with a commonly used antibiotic has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in draft guidance.

If a newborn baby develops a bacterial infection, they are often treated with Gentamicin. This antibiotic carries the risk of hearing loss if given to babies who have the m.1555A>G genetic variant. The swab test quickly identifies if the newborn carries the gene, allowing medical practitioners to use an alternative antibiotic to Gentamicin if needed.

This amazing development is linked to research carried out at a number of institutions, including the University of Manchester, where Ewing Foundation has its origins and where we still maintain strong links.

Find out more from NICE.

Find out more from the University of Manchester.

Update May 2023: This development featured in an episode on Dave Kemp’s You Tube channel This Week In Hearing. Thank you to our Audiologist James for helping to bring this about by introducing Dave to the North West Genome Group.