Introducing non-invasive prenatal testing in Morocco

13th November 2023
Sheryl Miles

Yourgene Health, a part of the Novacyt group and a global specialist in molecular diagnostics, has established Morocco's first non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) workflow at the Centre de Biologie Riad (Laboriad) using its IONA test.

This local provision by Laboriad broadens its services, offering pregnant women quick and reliable results, thereby reducing the need for invasive testing and associated anxiety for expectant parents.

The IONA test, known as the COSY test by Laboriad, is a prenatal screening tool. It assesses the risk of trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edwards’ syndrome), or trisomy 13 (Patau’s syndrome) in a foetus. Additionally, it can determine foetal sex. This CE-IVD certified test is ideal for laboratories wanting to provide in-house NIPT services. It involves analysing a maternal blood sample using next-generation sequencing technology, delivering results within three days. The test is adaptable for varying sample volumes, meeting the growing needs of clinical labs.

Previously, Moroccan blood samples for NIPT were sent to countries like France and Germany. Now, Laboriad's integration of the IONA test allows it to serve as a local NIPT provider in Morocco and nearby regions, facilitating wider access to non-invasive testing. This addition also minimises the risk of test failures due to shipping delays affecting the fetal fraction.

Lyn Rees, Executive Director at Yourgene Health, stated: “Yourgene is committed to delivering best-in-class NIPT solutions and continues to be a leading player in the global NIPT market and a trusted provider. We are very proud, once again, to be contributing to patient care where it is needed and to be the first to bring NIPT to Morocco through our partnership with pioneering companies, like Laboriad, who are at the forefront of clinical testing in the region.”

Dr Jalil Elattar, Director at the Centre de Biologie Riad (Laboriad), remarked: “The establishment of the first NIPT platform in Morocco in collaboration with Yourgene Health, will improve the care of pregnant women in Morocco by giving gynaecologists and pregnant women rapid access to new generation NIPT. The clinical management of pregnant women in Africa is difficult, as many do not have access to NIPT, due to the complexity of having to send the samples abroad, resulting in costs and additional delays."

"We are very pleased to collaborate with Yourgene Health who have installed their NIPT technology in our laboratory, allowing us to finally perform NIPT locally, in less than a week, and make them affordable and more accessible to pregnant women in Morocco,” he added.

Join Yourgene’s presentation: “Non-invasive prenatal screening using shallow sequencing, a high-performance, evolving technique” at noon on 11 November at the 22E Congrès de la Société Marocaine d'Endoscopie Gynécologique (Hotel Dawliz Art & Spa, Rabat, 10–11 November 2023) for further insights.

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