August 26, 2021 – The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America Medical and Research Advisory Committee has released two statements with updated COVID-19 guidance.

MARAC recommendations are making a minor shift to emphasize a more individualized approach:

  • Continue to recommend vaccination against COVID. For booster dose of vaccine, currently SCD is not eligible but expect changes in CDC guidance.
  • Continue to recommend general precautions: wearing masks, keeping physical distancing, good ventilation, and washing hands. These are public health measures.
  • Recommend neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAb) – (Regeneron) as early treatment for mild symptomatic COVID in individuals with SCD [<10d after the test, age 12y+, wt 88 lb+ (40kg+), not hospitalized, not newly on oxygen]. Encourage getting tested if you have COVID symptoms. Possible prophylactic treatment with Regeneron antibodies if exposed to COVID.
  • No general recommendation for all individuals with SCD to stay home nor all to return to in-person activities. Help patients and families make individualized assessments of risk and trade-offs of returning to work or school in-person. Factors to consider were listed in MARAC July 2020 “checklist for return to school” (plus vaccination status): the community’s rates of COVID and variants, vaccination status, family socioeconomic situation, ventilation and other protective measures in the building, mental health needs, educational needs.

Read the full statement for more information on the above.

Additionally, MARAC recommends that people with sickle cell disease should have access to monoclonal antibody (mAbs) treatment according to established guidelines, to prevent mild COVID from progressing to severe disease. Read the full recommendations for providers, policy makers and patients.