Press Addressing rare diseases in a pandemic

Opinion Articles | 15-02-2021 in Parliament Magazine

Rare diseases and Primary Immunodeficiency (PID) in particular are a challenge to health systems and policymakers. Their diversity alone – there are over 250 identified PID disorders - makes it harder to develop effective treatment plans and to engage laboratories in the research and development of adequate pharmaceutical products. 

 These difficulties increase in health emergencies, such as the one we are experiencing, since most resources are being channelled to address the COVID-19 pandemic, while trying to maintain adequate levels of response to other common illnesses affecting the general population.

 It is hard to estimate the full impact this crisis had in patients with rare diseases. Lack of adequate treatment for many comes to mind, but also delays in diagnosis that could prevent unnecessary suffering.

 We need to pay special attention to this population in all our health policies, including vaccination programmes.  We must also ensure that policy makers, researchers and laboratories do not overlook rare diseases. 


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