ADELAIDE, Australia — A genetic biobank could hold the answers needed to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome which kills 130 babies in Australia every year.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the sudden, unexpected death of an apparently well baby, which remains unexplained despite clinical investigations, including an autopsy. It has no symptoms or warning signs.

Babies who die of this disease seem healthy before being put to bed. They show no signs of struggle and are often found in the same position as when they were placed in the bed.

The University of South Australia biobank holds deoxyribonucleic acid from 25 babies who have died from the syndrome and is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The University of South Australia is the Australia’s University of Enterprise on the global stage, agile and astute, known for relevance, equity, and excellence.

Molecular biologist and head of genetics at the Australian Centre for Precision Health, Professor Leanne Dibbens, said research into sudden infant death syndrome was not as active as it once was as safe sleeping campaigns had lowered the rate of death.

(Representative image) Molecular biologist and head of genetics at the Australian Centre for Precision Health, Professor Leanne Dibbens, said “This research will help protect all babies and families from suffering the heartache of this particular disease.” (Aditya Romansa/Unsplash)

Australian Centre for Precision Health (ACPreH) brings together a multidisciplinary group of leading experts in genomics, population health, and evidence translation to create the next generation of solutions for global health problems.

Babies are most vulnerable to this particular disease in the first three months of life.

“Our genetic biobank will enable us to analyze deoxyribonucleic acid from sudden infant death syndrome babies to look for genetic causes of the same and by finding these we will be able to test babies at birth to identify those who are at risk, with these babies being closely monitored in their first year of life,” Dibbens said.

“This research will help protect all babies and families from suffering the heartache of this particular disease.”

The biobank was supported by funding from River’s Gift. Established in November 2011 by Karl Waddell and Alex Hamilton, these two devastated yet focused and determined parents were searching for answers surrounding the sudden and unexpected death of their healthy baby boy, their first child, River.

River passed away in his sleep at just 128 days of age, with no specific cause of death established after a thorough forensic investigation. River’s death was classified as a sudden infant death syndrome incident.

River’s Gift has evolved into a globally recognized cause, with thousands of supporters becoming a part of our mission of Stamping Out SIDS.

(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Ritaban Misra)



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