A Nigerian Media Organization, Arise Television on Wednesday undertook to fund bringing to Nigeria, Crizanlizumab, the new drug for the treatment of sickle cell disease for the use of Nigerians suffering from the dreaded disease.
Every year, about 150,000 children in Nigeria are born with sickle cell anaemia (Hb SS). According to a WHO report, Nigeria accounts for over half of the more than 300,000 babies born globally each year with severe haemoglobin disorders. It is known as a silent baby killer. Nigeria is therefore regarded as the headquarters of the disease in the world.
The popular television station was founded by media tycoon, Nduka Obaigbena. He also doubles as the founder of Thisday, one of Nigeria’s national newspapers. The news was broken on Tuesday morning at “The Morning Show” by Rufai Oseni, one of the anchors of the popular show.
Crizanlizumab is the first of such drugs in 20 years. It is made by Novartis and has been described as “an innovative treatment”
It is injected into a vein and can be taken on its own or alongside standard treatment and regular blood transfusions, the BBC reports.
In a trial, patients taking the crizanlizumab had a sickle-cell crisis 1.6 times a year on average, compared with nearly three times a year normally.These painful episodes, which can require hospital treatment and lead to other health complications, are caused by by sickle-shaped red blood cells blocking the small blood vessels .
But because the trial was small and lasted only a year, it remains unknown how long the benefits last for – and that makes it difficult to judge how cost-effective crizanlizumab is.
Nevertheless, NICE, which recommends treatments in England and Wales, is recommending its use for over-16s, albeit under a special arrangement rather than routinely, on the NHS.
The UK charity Sickle Cell Society said the new treatment brought “new hope” for people living with the world’s most common genetic blood condition.