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Down's test gets Swiss go-ahead

2012-07-29 20:01

Geneva - Switzerland has given the green light for prenatal testing for Down's syndrome, Swiss media reported on Sunday.

The controversial test will be available in the country from mid-August following the decision by Swissmedic, the national agency for therapeutic products, Neue Zuercher Zeitung Sonntag reported.

The test, developed by life science specialists LifeCodexx, involves screening pregnant women's blood samples to either rule out or confirm the presence of foetal Down's syndrome, which is also known as trisomy 21.

The German-based firm describes the procedure, marketed as PrenaTest, as a "risk-free alternative to common invasive examination methods such as amniocentesis".

Demand is high in Switzerland from doctors and expectant mothers, the company said.

The test will also be marketed in Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, according to the German-based firm's website.

The development follows an attempt by the international federation of Down's syndrome organisations to convince the European Court of Human Rights that it should not recognise people's right to such tests.

The federation, grouping 30 associations in 16 countries, said in June that the Strasbourg court must "recognise the human condition and protect the right to life of people with Down's syndrome and those handicapped".