RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — All babies born in Virginia will now be tested for two additional disorders as part of the Newborn Screening Program.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced Wednesday that Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) would be added to the list of disorders that are screened for 24-48 hours after a baby is born in Virginia.

SMA affects about one in every 11,000 births in the United States and can affect a baby’s ability to swallow, breathe, sit and walk. Forgoing treatment could result in death.

X-ALD affects males more often, and about six in every 100,000 babies born in the U.S. receive an X-ALD diagnosis. X-ALD prevents certain fats from being broken down in the body. The buildup of those fats and lead to issues with the nervous system and adrenal glands.

“While these disorders are rare, the ability to diagnose and treat them early is life-changing and possibly life-saving for these babies,” Youngkin said. “Every child born in Virginia deserves the best possible start in life, and our dedicated scientists and nurses in the newborn screening program have committed their lives to making sure that happens.”

The screening test is mandated for all children except those whose parents have a religious objection. The screening panel tests for metabolic and genetic disorders ranging from Cystic Fibrosis to many “relatively obscure conditions that can cause severe sickness, physical or mental disabilities, even death, if not diagnosed early.”

The test has been mandated since 1966 and uses dried blood samples from pricking a newborn baby’s heel in the first two days after they’re born.

There will be 33 disorders on the screening panel once SMA and X-ALD are added this week, Youngkin’s office said.

The two disorders will be added to the screening at the recommendation of the Virginia Newborn Screening Advisory Committee. The recommendation follows the inclusion of SMA and X-ALD on the national Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP).

The newborn screening program also tests for Critical Congenital Heart Defect and includes a hearing test to identify congenital hearing loss before the baby leaves the hospital.

“Scientific advances allow us to continue to build on Virginia’s newborn screening program, which started with screening for one disorder in 1966 and has grown to include the identification of thousands of babies each year who are either born with a disorder or could be a carrier,” said DGS Director Joe Damico. “This program is an extraordinary example of agencies working together to improve the lives of Virginia’s residents.”

Acting State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene said the screening helps VDH nurses direct parents to the resources and specialists they will need to care for their child.

The screening is done through a partnership between the Department of General Services’ Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). About 4 million newborn screenings are done each year using about 100,000 samples.

Newborn screening staff follow up on abnormal test results for about 20,000 infants each year.