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Leap 01

Cure genetic diseases

What if?

What if babies born with cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia could
be treated with successful gene therapies in the first months of life,
preventing these diseases from ever taking hold? What if CRISPR
gene editing could be used to prevent Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s,
and other degenerative conditions?

Health impacts

When considering single gene disorders, we find that if health technology become capable of curing sickle cell anemia, it’s possible to save more that 610,000 WALYs in the year of intervention and extend the lives of 10,000,000 children born with the disease by 2050.


However, as noted in the introduction of this chapter, most genetic diseases are not single gene disorders, but instead involve the interaction of multiple genes and environmental factors. Examples of these sorts of diseases include Alzheimer’s, stroke, and Parkin - son’s disease.


When predicting the potential impact by curing the genetic influence for these three diseases, we identify an existing wellbeing burden in European countries ranging from 29,173 WALYs lost per 100,000 people to 56,471 WALYs lost per 100,000 people.




Cure for sickle cell anemia (Global)

7.75

Cure for Alzheimer’s, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease (Global)

123.3

WALY per 100.000 individuals

Community impacts

The social cascade effects of genetic diseases are also noticeable for parents and among partners.


Alone in the United States, 31,199 people were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2019, 46 percent of whom were under the age of 18. We find this to imply that American parents of children with cystic fibrosis are subject to an annual wellbeing loss of 1,148 WALYs.


Moreover, in 2019, heart disease accounted for the deaths of 1.97 million adults in Europe, approximately 59 percent of whom were married. As experiencing the death of a partner results in 0.13 WALYs lost in the first twelve months, we can infer that 1.16 million WALYs were lost in 2019 just by partners of patients who died of heart attacks. Almost half of these cases (47%) could have been theoretically saved with successful genetic screening and treatments.




Prevent heart attacks (Partner burden, EU)

126.41

WALY per 100.000 individuals

Stability impacts

The social cascade effects of genetic diseases are also noticeable for parents and among partners.


Alone in the United States, 31,199 people were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2019, 46 percent of whom were under the age of 18. We find this to imply that American parents of children with cystic fibrosis are subject to an annual wellbeing loss of 1,148 WALYs.


Moreover, in 2019, heart disease accounted for the deaths of 1.97 million adults in Europe, approximately 59 percent of whom were married. As experiencing the death of a partner results in 0.13 WALYs lost in the first twelve months, we can infer that 1.16 million WALYs were lost in 2019 just by partners of patients who died of heart attacks. Almost half of these cases (47%) could have been theoretically saved with successful genetic screening and treatments.




Cure genetic diseases among babies and paediatric

13.6

WALY per 100.000 individuals