The dawn of a cure for sickle cell disease through CRISPR-based treatment: A critical test of equity in public health genomics.

Publication date: Mar 22, 2024

Equity in access to genomic technologies, resources, and products remains a great challenge. This was evident especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic when the majority of lower middle-income countries were unable to achieve at least 10% population vaccination coverage during initial COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, despite the rapid development of those vaccines. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited monogenic red blood cell disorder that affects hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen through the body. Globally, the African continent carries the highest burden of SCD with at least 240,000 children born each year with the disease. SCD has evolved from a treatable to a curable disease. Recently, the UK medical regulator approved its cure through clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-based treatment, whereas the US Food and Drug Administration has equally approved two SCD gene therapies. This presents a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate equity in public health genomics. This CRISPR-based treatment is expensive and therefore, a need for an ambitious action to ensure that they are affordable and accessible where they are needed most and stand to save millions of lives.

Concepts Keywords
Affordable Africa
Coronavirus equity
Genomics public health genomics
Pandemic sickle cell disease


Type Source Name
disease MESH sickle cell disease
disease VO Equity
disease MESH coronavirus disease 2019
disease VO population
disease VO vaccination coverage
disease VO COVID-19 vaccine
disease IDO blood
disease IDO cell
drug DRUGBANK Oxygen
disease VO gene

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