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KGMU to get genetic diagnostic unit soon

Lucknow, Nov 22 (IANS) The King George's Medical University (KGMU) will soon have a genetic diagnostic unit that will help in early detection of genetic disorders in babies.

The unit that will be established at the Queen Mary's Hospital (QMH) of the university, will carry out genomic testing of babies (both unborn and new-born).

This will be the state's second genetic diagnostic unit after the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), officials said.

Doctors will be able to find whether babies are suffering from hereditary diseases and treatment will be started as soon as the problem is detected. Also, in case of unborn babies, parents will be able to decide whether to keep the pregnancy or terminate it.

Prof Mili Jain, a faculty member at obstetrics and gynaecology department who is also heading the project, said, "We had submitted the proposal for the unit to the Central government in 2019. It has cleared scrutiny by expert committee as well as the presentation stage. We are likely to get the final nod soon."

She further said, "We are planning to screen thyroid, thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia, and red blood cell genetic disorders in babies. Thyroid issues will be screened in new-borns, while unborn babies will be tested for thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia, and other disorders."

Jain said that if a problem is diagnosed within three months of pregnancy, counselling of parents can be initiated. This will not only help babies and their parents but also reduce the burden on the government system.