Second child with SMA receives gene therapy injection: Health minister

MENA , Ahram Online , Wednesday 4 Aug 2021

This comes as part of a presidential initiative to treat children with muscle atrophy at the state’s expense

Egypt
2nd case of a child suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) receives her injection as part of her gene therapy at Cairo's Nasser Institute hospital. Egyptian health ministry

Egypt’s Health and Population Minister Hala Zayed said on Wednesday that for the second time, a child suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) has received an injection as part of her gene therapy at Cairo's Nasser Institute hospital.

This comes as part of a presidential initiative to treat children with muscle atrophy at the state’s expense.

In press statements, spokesman for the Health Ministry Khaled Megahed said that clinics allocated for children with SMA have received 1,740 cases and work is underway to conduct all necessary clinical and genetic examinations for them.

After finalising their medical files, children diagnosed with SMA are referred to the higher scientific committee, headed by assistant Health Minister for Public Health Initiatives Mohamed Hassani, for assessment before receiving the treatment, added the spokesman.

After the gene therapy injection, cases of children with SMA are monitored weekly for three months by consultant doctors specialised in neurosurgery, paediatrics, nutrition and physical therapy, he noted.

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According to the FDA, SMA is a rare and often fatal genetic hereditary disease that causes weakness and muscle wasting because patients lose lower motor neurons (nerve cells) that control movement.

Late in June, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said the state can bear the SMA treatment cost, urging for early detection of the disease during the first year of a child's birth to avoid difficulties.

The treatment cost for each case reaches $3 million, El-Sisi noted.

Zayed said in June that a partnership contract has been signed to treat SMA, and it will start with the treatment of 10 children.

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