SCID is a primary immunodeficiency disease. Affected infants lack T lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help resist infections due to a wide array of viruses, bacteria and fungi. Babies with SCID appear healthy at birth, but without early treatment, most often by bone marrow transplant from a healthy donor, these infants cannot survive.
SCID has been characterized in the medical community as a pediatric emergency. If a baby with SCID receives a bone marrow transplant in the first 3.5 months of life, the survival rate can be as high as 94 percent. However, the survival rate drops to less than 70 percent for infants who are transplanted after that age. The main causes for the drop in survival rate are serious infections babies with SCID developed prior to transplantation.
The Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (ACHDNC) was chartered in February 2003 to perform evidence-based reviews and advise the Secretary regarding application of new screening tests, technologies, policies, guidelines and standards for effectively reducing morbidity and mortality in newborns and children having, or at risk for, heritable disorders. SCID is the first new disease to be added to the federal uniform core-screening panel by the evidence-based Committee review process.
The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) has strongly supported and worked tirelessly toward this goal for many years. But it is imperative that we sustain this momentum by working to establish newborn screening programs in all 50 states. You can learn more about the IDF SCID Newborn Screening campaign at http://primaryimmune.org/idf-advocacy-center/idf-scid-newborn-screening-campaign/