The National Health Service in England has begun to offer exome sequencing to hundreds of critically ill infants and children in an effort to diagnose their disease, the Telegraph reports.
"This quick and accurate new test means rapid diagnosis and reassurance for families when they need it most and give babies and children the best chance of a healthy and happy life," Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, tells the Telegraph.
About 700 children with rare diseases or conditions will be offered whole-exome sequencing each year, with the hope that it will provide diagnoses and treatment options, it adds. Since October, when the service was first rolled out, the Telegraph says some 80 families have been offered exome sequencing and that about half received results within days, as compared to months with usual tests.
"It's one step forward, and over the coming years we will expand the use of genomic testing right across the NHS," Matt Hancock, the health secretary, says, according to the Independent. Hancock in November said NHS might eventually do genome sequencing on all newborns.