UK hospitals needed to trial routine Group B strep testing in pregnant women

on 19 April 2022

A trial to routine test group B Streptococcal (group B Strep) in pregnant women in the United Kingdom (UK) is being introduced, but more hospitals are needed to take part.

The GBS3 trial aims to gather evidence of the effectiveness of testing for group B Strep in pregnant women, with the view to introduce routine testing in the UK.

Overall, 80 hospitals are needed to take part in the trial. So far just 30 hospitals are signed up.

Speaking to Sky News, Chief Executive of Group B Strep Support Jane Plumb said: “It really is a now or never moment. Without having the robust evidence, policy won’t change and the trial is absolutely the best and probably only shot at being able to get the evidence to affect change.”

Between two and four in every ten women carry group B Strep, with a small risk of passing it on to their baby during labour if not diagnosed and managed.

“Roughly two babies a day develop group B Strep infection, typically sepsis, pneumonia or meningitis. One of those babies, every week, dies and another baby survives with lifelong disability. And this is unforgiveable because most of these infections are preventable.”

Routine testing of group B Strep is currently not available in the UK, while France, Germany, Spain and the US offer tests to pregnant women who are then offered antibiotics during labour should they test positive.

Group B Strep Support has launched a social media campaign #EndGBSinfection to encourage more hospitals to get involved with the GBS3 trial.

The charity is also calling on people to write to their MP to get their local hospital involved with the trial.

More information can be found here.