COVID -19 Pandemic: A Grim Ongoing Challenge for Sickle Cell Disease Patients
Novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is a major global illness caused by acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) which primarily causes pulmonary infection. Sickle cell disease (SCD) patients if get infected, has been found to be at higher risk to develop life threatening complication, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to COVID 19. Diagnosis and management of SCD becomes challenging due to its complexity and unrecognizable symptoms associated with sickle cell trait. Definitive diagnosis requires multidisciplinary approach, and chest X ray images usually show peripheral ground glass opacity or consolidations indicative of severe pulmonary involvement. Management strategies should be selected with an aim to prevent polymerization of abnormal sickle haemoglobin HbS in erythrocytes, so as to reduce frequency and severity of infection in SCD. Hydroxychloroquine/ chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug has shown promising results in reduction of COVID 19 symptoms however cardiovascular and gastrointestinal side effects due to them have raised a controversy that demands future clinical trials on evaluation of its safety. Besides this, limited literature evidence necessitates the need of more clinical trials in a quest of search of appropriate therapeutic regimen to prevent complications in SCD patients.