Inexpensive, rapid test might transform sickle cell screening

HemoTypeSC, a low-cost and easy-to-use screening test for sickle cell disease was more than 99 percent accurate in detecting the condition in young children, according to the results of a NHLBI-funded multicenter evaluation study published in the American Journal of Hematology.    

Sickle cell disease is a common, lifethreatening genetic disorder, most prevalent in poor regions of the world, where newborn screening and diagnosis are rare. In these areas, the majority of children die, undiagnosed, before their fifth birthday. In Africa, it is still the cause of death of 5 percent of children under five years, for lack of early diagnosis.

Impoverished countries face great challenges to use the current gold standard method for sickle cell screening, which is costly and requires sophisticated equipment and reliable electricity. At less than $2 per test, the HemoTypeSC test, on the other hand, is cheap to manufacture, very easy to perform, and requires no training, electricity, or expensive machines.

The test requires only a small drop of blood and returns results in about 10 minutes, without going through a laboratory, making it suitable for routine screening of newborns.

Related Links

Evaluation of HemoTypeSC as a Novel Rapid Test for Point-of-Care Screening for Sickle-Cell Disease, Hemoglobin C Disease, and Carrier Status in Low-Resource Settings