An accurate and affordable test for the rapid diagnosis of sickle cell disease could revolutionize the outlook for affected children born in resource-limited settings

Williams TN
BMC Med. 2015;13

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Each year, at least 280,000 children are born with sickle cell disease (SCD) in resource-limited settings. For cost, logistic and political reasons, the availability of SCD testing is limited in such settings and consequently 50-90 % of affected children die undiagnosed before their fifth birthday. The recent development of a point of care method for the diagnosis of SCD - the Sickle SCAN device - could afford such children the prompt access to appropriate services that has transformed the outlook for affected children in resource-rich areas. In research published in BMC Medicine, Kanter and colleagues describe a small but carefully conducted study involving 208 children and adults, in which they found that by using Sickle SCAN it was possible to diagnose the common forms of SCD with 99 % sensitivity and 99 % specificity, in under 5 minutes. If repeatable both in newborn babies and under real-life conditions, and if marketed at an affordable price, Sickle SCAN could revolutionize the survival prospects for children born with SCD in resource-limited areas.Please see related article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-015-0473-6.