Narrative

1 in 500 babies carry a gene that causes permanent deafness when given gentamicin, an antibiotic commonly used in intensive care. Working with a small biotechnology company Genedrive Plc, we developed the world’s first, rapid bedside genetic test. The test was trialled in 751 babies in neonatal units in Manchester and Liverpool.
The test takes just 25 minutes, compared to several days with conventional methods, allowing doctors to give an alternative antibiotic within the recommended 60 minutes to those babies carrying the gene.
The new technique could save the hearing of 180 babies in England alone every year, and save the NHS ~£5 million every year by reducing the need for other interventions, such as cochlear implants.
The test began being used in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of three Manchester hospitals, while the NHS explored how the technology could become part of routine clinical service.
In March 2023, NICE recommended use of the test within the NHS in final guidance, and in August 2023 the test was rolled out into routine clinical practice across Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust where 350 nurses have been trained to use the genetic testing machine.
Impact date1 May 20182023
Category of impactHealth and wellbeing, Economic, Technological, Policy
Impact levelAdoption