Simultaneous point-of-care detection of anemia and sickle cell disease in Tanzania: the RAPID study.


Both anemia and sickle cell disease (SCD) are highly prevalent across sub-Saharan Africa, and limited resources exist to diagnose these conditions quickly and accurately. The development of simple, inexpensive, and accurate point-of-care (POC) assays represents an important advance for global hematology, one that could facilitate timely and life-saving medical interventions. In this prospective study, Robust Assays for Point-of-care Identification of Disease (RAPID), we simultaneously evaluated a POC immunoassay (Sickle SCAN™) to diagnose SCD and a first-generation POC color-based assay to detect anemia. Performed at Bugando Medical Center in Mwanza, Tanzania, RAPID tested 752 participants (age 1 day to 20 years) in four busy clinical locations. With minimally trained medical staff, the SCD POC assay diagnosed SCD with 98.1% sensitivity and 91.1% specificity. The hemoglobin POC assay had 83.2% sensitivity and 74.5% specificity for detection of severe anemia (Hb ≤ 7 g/dL). Interobserver agreement was excellent for both POC assays (r = 0.95-0.96). Results for the hemoglobin POC assay have informed the second-generation assay design to be more suitable for low-resource settings. RAPID provides practical feasibility data regarding two novel POC assays for the diagnosis of anemia and SCD in real-world field evaluations and documents the utility and potential impact of these POC assays for sub-Saharan Africa.