April 22nd, 2020 heralds the beginning of World Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) Week. This will be the ten year anniversary of the event, which is designed to spread awareness about PI diseases around the world. This year, World PI Week will take on a celebratory tone to commemorate the efforts and achievements this rare disease community has seen over the last decade.
About Primary Immunodeficiency (PI)
Primary immunodeficiency describes a group of disorders which are characterized by some degree of dysfunction of the immune system. These diseases are generally the result of genetic abnormalities and are not the result of other conditions or external factors. In some cases, they may remain latent until a certain environmental trigger causes problems to appear. The symptoms of these disorders may vary considerably in severity and depend on the specific subtype. However, some symptoms may include chronic, persistent infections, developmental delays due to infection, dysfunction of certain organs, and increased vulnerability to autoimmune disorders or blood cancers such as lymphoma. Treatment of most types of primary immunodeficiency is symptomatic and supportive; patients may be told to take steps to avoid exposure to pathogens; medications to enhance immune function and fight infections are also used. To learn more about primary immunodeficiency, click here.
10 Times the Effort
This year, the event will be expanded to a total of 10 weeks instead of just one, running until the first of July. This extra effort is meant to both highlight the ten year anniversary and address the urgency of the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. While the virus is a threat to everyone, it is especially dangerous for people living with a compromised immune system as primary immunodeficiency patients do. With this imminent threat spreading across the globe, awareness about this group of disorders is more urgent than ever before.
World PI Week will celebrate the primary immunodeficiency community, including the lives of caregivers and patients. In addition, the event will draw attention to the ongoing efforts of policymakers, patients and patient families, doctors, caregivers, and researchers who are actively involved in trying to improve the lives of PI patients.
To learn more about World PI Week, click here.