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New blood test can reliably predict premature birth

Researchers from Stanford University in the US have collaborated with international scientists to develop new blood tests for pregnant women that can predict premature birth and determine the gestational age of a foetus.

The new approach is less expensive than ultrasound and is expected to help minimise problems associated with premature birth, which is known to impact 15 million infants per year globally.

Designed to measure maternal, placental and foetal gene activity, the new tests look for cell-free RNA fragments in a mother’s blood.