Biree Andemariam, MD: Caring for Sickle Cell Disease Patients in COVID-19


The Chief Medical Officer of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America discusses a recently released care provider advisory from the organization.

While the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted citizens of nearly every country, for patients with chronic conditions the outbreak has been an increasingly stressful time.

One of those patient groups is those with sickle cell disease, which is why organizations like the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) have put forth additional effort to provide proper guidance to clinicians and care providers of these patients.

Originally released in late March—and updated numerous times since—the SCDAA was among the first major organizations to release official guidance for clinicians.

“We very quickly came to an agreement that one of the most important things we needed to do was to develop a set of advisories. One, for patients and families effected by sickle cell disease and also a companion healthcare advisory,” said Biree Andemariam, MD, chief medical officer of the SCDAA and associate professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut Health, in a recent interview.

The 9-page document, which was penned by the organization’s Medical and Research Advisory Committee, addresses topics including routine clinical care, management of acute sickle cell pain, triage for possible COVID-19 infections, treatment of COVID-19 in patients with sickle cell disease, scheduled chronic blood transfusions, the need for blood donations during the outbreak, and COVID-19 clinical trials involving patients with sickle cell disease.

Included towards the end of the document is a link to an online COVID-19 and sickle cell disease registry, which is collecting de-identified data in an effort to learn more about sickle cell disease and COVID-19.

In an effort to learn more about sickle cell disease, COVID-19, and the provider advisory, HCPLive® sat up with Andemariam as part of a recent HCPLive House Call interview.

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