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On May 21, 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the addition of Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID) to the recommended uniform screening. It is imperative that we sustain this momentum by establishing newborn screening programs in all 50 states.

Background of the IDF SCID Newborn Screening Campaign

SCID is a primary immunodeficiency disease. Affected infants lack T lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help resist infections due to a wide array of viruses, bacteria and fungi. Babies with SCID appear healthy at birth, but without early treatment, most often by bone marrow transplant from a healthy donor, these infants cannot survive.

SCID has been characterized in the medical community as a pediatric emergency. If a baby with SCID receives a bone marrow transplant in the first 3.5 months of life, the survival rate can be as high as 94 percent. However, the survival rate drops to less than 70 percent for infants who are transplanted after that age. The main causes for the drop in survival rate are serious infections babies with SCID developed prior to transplantation.

In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, many around the world first heard of SCID when a Texas boy, David Vetter, affectionately known as the boy in the bubble, was born with the disorder and lived in protected environments to maintain relatively germ-free surroundings.

The Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (ACHDNC) was chartered in February 2003 to perform evidence-based reviews and advise the Secretary regarding application of new screening tests, technologies, policies, guidelines and standards for effectively reducing morbidity and mortality in newborns and children having, or at risk for, heritable disorders. SCID is the first new disease to be added to the federal uniform core-screening panel by the evidence-based Committee review process.

The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) has strongly supported and worked tirelessly toward this goal for many years, and as of December 10, 2018, all 50 states are screening for SCID.

Campaign Objective

The Immune Deficiency Foundation applauds the Secretary of Health and Human Service's inclusion of SCID in the national standards. IDF wants every state to include SCID on their newborn screening panel immediately in order to save lives. To provide education and information about this issue, IDF has created awareness materials including the IDF SCID Newborn Screening blog, Parent Guides for Abnormal Screen and Diagnosis, the IDF SCID Newborn Screening Toolkit, and Advocacy Channel videos.

SCID Newborn Screening: Current Status of Implementation Map


As of December 10, 2018, All newborns are screened for SCID in the U.S.


Also screening: District of Columbia, Navajo Nation, Puerto Rico

SCID: Guide for Parents - What does an Abnormal Screen for SCID Mean?

A Guide for Parents who receive an Abnormal Screen for SCID

SCID: A Guide for Parents Following Diagnosis

SCID: A Guide for Parents Following Diagnosis

Infants with SCID should NOT receive Live Rotavirus Vaccine

A brochure detailing the dangers of administering the Live Rotavirus vaccine to infants with Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID).

One Family's Journey with SCID

Babies with SCID are placed in isolation both before and after the corrective treatment to protect them, or isolate them, from germs that could make them sick. This video takes you on one family's journey.

Journal Articles

The Story of David

David Vetter, affectionately known as the boy in the bubble, was born with SCID. At the time of his birth in 1971, a bone marrow transplant from an exact matched donor was the only cure for SCID, but there was no match available in David’s family. For 12 years, David captured the world’s attention as he lived in protected environments to maintain relatively germ-free surroundings at Texas Children’s Hospital. Click here to read more about David.


  • "SCID Q & A with Sung-Yun Pai, MD," IDF ADVOCATE, Spring 2015 Sung-Yun Pai, MD, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, was lead author on two articles published last year on Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID) in The New England Journal of Medicine: “Transplantation Outcomes for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, 2000–2009” July 31, 2014 and “A Modified γ-Retrovirus Vector for X-Linked Severe Combined Immunodeficiency” October 9, 2014. The first reviewed outcomes after bone marrow transplantation; the second reported the first results of a new international gene therapy trial for X-linked SCID. She answers questions about SCID based on the findings of the studies.
  • "Proof Positive: Study Confirms the Need for Early Screening and Intervention for SCID," IDF ADVOCATE, Winter 2015 The publishing of a landmark study in The Journal of the American Medical Association highlights findings of a large group of contributors* led by Jennifer M. Puck, MD, senior author of the study and a renowned Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID) expert who is also a member of the IDF Medical Advisory Committee. The study, “Newborn Screening for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency in 11 Screening Programs in the U.S.,” published August 20, 2014, presented data from a wide range of screening programs, established an incidence rate based on populations, and discussed the significance of early intervention. This article reviews the study.

Make the Connection

Identify the contact in your state and start a conversation with them. Provide copies of the fact sheets in the IDF SCID Newborn Screening Toolkit to help them learn more about SCID and the importance of newborn screening. Share the information you learn and the progress you make with us via e-mail. Also check out the IDF SCID Newborn Screening blog to see what volunteer activity is already taking place in your state. You can become a part of the action by commenting or filling out the contact form at the top of the page. Together we can make SCID newborn screening universal!

Take Action

Taking action means working toward SCID newborn screening within your state since each state handles newborn screening differently. Some states require legislative action to add a new screening test, while other states have the authority to do so based on the recommendation of their state newborn screening program. The National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center is a great resource. Visit their website to get information on how to contact your state lab or newborn screening program. Find out about the process of newborn screening in your state as well as vital information about the tests for which your state currently screens newborns.

SCID Newborn Screening on the IDF Advocacy Playlist

IDF Advocacy videos communicate the powerful messages and stories of our patients to impact policy decisions. Focusing on patient advocacy on behalf of IDF public policy issues, this playlist empowers the entire patient community. From those who share their personal stories to those who see others in similar situations standing up and making their voices heard, these videos tell powerful stories. View the IDF Advocacy playlist for videos on the importance of SCID Newborn Screening.

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