Activities are organised around two focuses, namely fœtal biochemistry (with AFP assay and acetylcholinesterase testing in amniotic fluid) and in utero infection.
Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme that is specific to nervous system tissue and the neuromuscular junction. It is not normally found in amniotic fluid unless the foetus has a neural tube defect such as myelomengocele (anencephaly or spina bifida).
The management of toxoplasmosis and materno-foetal viral infections has considerably evolved over recent years due to major advances in diagnosis. Molecular biology techniques have led to significant improvements in the reliability of antenatal screening, although the sensitivity of genomic viruses or parasite detection in amniotic fluid still depends on the term of the pregnancy and the interval between contraction of the infection and specimen collection.
Activities and Techniques
Biomnis is fully accredited and has the specific technical resources and skills necessary when dealing with the genomic identification of infectious agents (cytomegalovirus, varicellavirus, parvovirus B19 and toxoplasmosis) that can damage the embryo or foetus. The current ideal technique is real-time PCR, the results of which may be consolidated by isolation of the infectious agent in tissue culture or by inoculation into laboratory animals.
Research and DevelopmentThe detection of an infectious agent in the amniotic fluid demonstrates that the embryo or foetus has been infected although this will not necessarily entail birth defects. It is vital to investigate prognostic factors to predict infection severity: quantifying the viral or parasitic load in the amniotic fluid using real-time PCR can provide useful information in this respect.