Screen4Rare organises two milestone meetings

February 2021 was a very busy month for the coalition Screen4Rare (S4R), with the celebration of 2 high-level meetings.

On February 11, S4R convened a round table to discuss newborn screening for rare diseases and how the European Reference Networks (ERN) could contribute to a EU-wide approach to newborn screening. The meeting was facilitated by the European Commission and led by Screen4Rare alongside with representatives from ERN-Rita and MetabERN. The meeting started with the revision of the Screen4Rare campaign and an agreement was reached to develop an ERN initiative on newborn screening for rare diseases that could coordinate future ERN action on the topic.

On February 24, a political meeting, organised by Screen4Rare and co-hosted by MEP Manuel Pizarro (S&D, Portugal) and MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland) gathered representatives from the European Commission, EU Member States, Members of the European Parliament, European References Networks (ERNs) and patient organisations. The meeting aimed at discussing the practical implementation of a European approach to newborn screening for rare diseases through an in-depth discussion regarding the various calls contained within Screen4Rare’s Call to Action. Several agreements were reached on how to proceed in the next steps, covering: funding opportunities, the possibility of creating a European Standing Committee on newborn screening for rare diseases and its debate by Member States and the Commission (at the Steering Group for Health Promotion and Prevention (SGPP)).

All in all, February was a very active month for the initiative that brings together the International Patient Organisation for Primary Immunodeficiencies (IPOPI), the International Society for Neonatal Screening (ISNS), and the European Society for Immunodeficiencies (ESID) aiming to exchange knowledge and best practices on NBS for rare diseases. The group’s ultimate objective is to ensure that all babies born in the EU can have equal access to newborn screening. Since February, the coalition has pursued its activities of introducing the initiative to European Member States and enlarge its pool of supporters at European level.