Recommended measures for the efficient care of patients with genetic disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic in low and middle income countries

Am J Med Genet A. 2020 Dec;182(12):2841-2846. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.61879. Epub 2020 Oct 16.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged in early 2020 and since, has brought about tremendous cost to economies and healthcare systems universally. Reports of pediatric patients with inherited conditions and COVID-19 infections are emerging. Specific risks for morbidity and mortality that this pandemic carries for different categories of genetic disorders are still mostly unknown. Thus, there are no specific recommendations for the diagnosis, management, and treatment of patients with genetic disorders during the COVID-19 or other pandemics. Emerging publications, from Upper-Middle Income countries (UMIC), discuss the recent experiences of genetic centers in the continuity of care for patients with genetic disorders in the context of this pandemic. Many measures to facilitate the plan to continuous genetic care in a well-developed health system, may not be applicable in Low and Middle Income countries (LMIC). With poorly structured health systems and with the lack of established genetic services, the COVID-19 pandemic will easily exacerbate the access to care for patients with genetic disease in these countries. This article focuses on the unique challenges of providing genetic healthcare services during emergency situations in LMIC countries and provides practical preparations for this and other pandemic situations.

Keywords: COVID-19; LMIC countries; genetic diseases; genetic disorders; healthcare access.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / therapy*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Developing Countries
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / complications
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / therapy*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Risk