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Croatia introduces SMA testing for every newborn

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ZAGREB, 3 March (Hina) – As of 1 March, the blood of every newborn in Croatia will be tested for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) at the KBC Zagreb hospital, which will facilitate earlier and better treatment outcomes, Ivan Lehman, a pediatrician at the hospital, told Hina.

Between 150 and 200 blood samples of newborns from every maternity hospital in the country arrive at the hospital’s specially equipped lab every day. If the test is positive, the parents will be invited to come to the Pediatric Neurology Institute with their baby for talks on the need for and possibility of SMA treatment.

Currently 50 babies are being treated for SMA at KBZ Zagreb.

Experts underline the importance of beginning treatment in the first six weeks of a baby’s life in case of a positive test. This test will make it possible to begin treatment in the second week of a newborn’s life.

Before Croatia, ten European countries introduced early SMA screening, including the Netherlands, Germany, Serbia, Poland, and Sweden.

In Croatia, SBA is diagnosed in one in four newborns a year on the average. Every medicine for treating this condition is available – Spinraza, Evrysdi (risdiplam), and Zolgensma (onasemnogen abeparvovek) gene therapy.

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