‘From Nothing to Gangbusters’: A Treatment for Sickle-Cell Disease Proves Effective in Africa


A drug that protects children in wealthy countries against painful and sometimes lethal bouts of sickle-cell disease has been proven safe for use in Africa, where the condition is far more common, scientists reported on Saturday.

More research remains to be done, experts said, but knowing that hydroxyurea — a cheap, effective and easy-to-take pill — can safely be given to African children may save millions of youngsters from agonizing pain and early deaths.

“I think this is going to be amazing,” said Dr. Ifeyinwa Osunkwo, who directs a sickle-cell disease program in Charlotte, N.C., but was not involved in the new study.

“There is currently no treatment in Africa, and a lot of children die before age 5,” said Dr. Osunkwo, who has treated children in the United States and Nigeria….

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