In the present world, science has come a long way. Humanity is progressing at an exponential rate at this point and it seems like we won’t stop anytime soon. However, there are still numerous things in this world that humanity has not successfully conquered yet. One of those things is the human body itself.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Humanity has achieved a lot in the field of biology. We have come a long way from our ancient methods of feeding a random herb and wishing that it worked. Or in some cases, driving a nail through the skull. Yikes!
But, as I mentioned before, there are still numerous issues that are still waiting for a resolution. The usual suspects include Cancer and Neurodegenerative Diseases. However, in 2016, a new disease attracted a lot of attention. The reason it was covered so much was that the FDA itself warned everyone that this disease had no cure. Even worse was the fact that it affected babies, the future of humanity. So, with the future of our species at stake, families were left without any hope. However, one should not belittle the ingenuity of the human race.
In little less than three years, two companies have come forward with viable treatments for the condition. One of them even promises a lifetime of relief.
So, what are these miracle treatments? You must be thinking about that. You won’t be wrong to think this. But, before we talk about the cures, we need to understand the exact reason why this disease is so fatal.
What exactly is this disease?
The name of this disease is Spinal Muscular Atrophy and it is exactly as dangerous as it sounds. This disease can obliterate a baby’s muscle control. It is a disease that can be genetically inherited and the defective gene causes the baby muscles to become very weak. This, in effect, renders the muscles immovable and results in an inability to swallow or breathe.
The defective gene works by interfering with the protein-making process. This leaves the nerves that control movement with less than the required amount of protein. This causes all kinds of havoc in the body. The protein deficiency kills the specific nerves and effectively destroys the body’s control over vital muscular structures.
So, how do you fight against something this deadly? Well, you use the same techniques it utilizes against it. Novartis, a very reputed Swiss drugmaker decided to take the initiative in the fight. Through arduous research, they managed to create a drug called Zolgensma. The drug is intended for children under the age of two years who are suffering from any of the four types of the disease’s variants. The disease is detected through genetic testing. The medicine takes one hour long to infuse in the blood after which the child can live a virtually worry-free life.
Did it get approval?
Well, while the FDA did approve it, the approval itself caused quite a bit of commotion. But, it is understandable. After all, $2.1 million USD as the price tag for the drug is not exactly an enticing proposition for families already bearing numerous medical costs.
However, Novartis has said that they are working with the insurers to enable them to pay the amount over a period of five years. That way, it will only cost around $425,000 per year. Additionally, if the treatment is unsuccessful, they will offer partial rebates to their customers.