Soon after birth, a baby in the United States is tested for sickle cell disease, the often-devastating genetic blood disorder affecting more than 100,000 Americans and 20 million of people worldwide. If positive, that newborn typically begins a course of treatment that can greatly prolong life and help stave off complications of the disease. But in sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of sickle cell disease cases can be found—and where resources are scant—newborn screening programs are virtually non-existent, and as a result, so is treatment that could save lives.
Now, research shows that with a new rapid result test kit, a diagnosis of sickle cell disease may no longer be a death sentence for children in the most affected parts of the world. read more