22–29 April 2022 is World Primary Immunodeficiency Week. Primary immunodeficiencies (PIs or PIDs) are caused by mutations in single genes that affect the development and/or function of immune cells. As a result, patients with PIDs have increased susceptibility to life-threatening infections, which often require life-long or invasive therapeutic interventions such as stem cell transplantation, gene therapy, prophylactic antibiotics, enzyme/immunoglobulin replacement and administration of steroids. The 2022 update on the classification of gene defects that cause PIDs from the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) expert committee is due to be published later in the year and will include >480 genes, a massive increase from the 430 reported in the 2019 update.
Around 6 million people worldwide are thought to live with primary immunodeficiencies, with 70–90% of these cases still undiagnosed. Current therapies for several PIDs include immunoglobulin therapies, haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, gene therapy and in the case of infection, aggressive use of antibiotics, antifungals and interferon to stimulate immune system function.
The official journal of the British Society for Immunology, Clinical & Experimental Immunology (CEI), has a dedicated ‘Immunodeficiency’ section and to call attention to World Primary Immunodeficiency Week, CEI has created this Virtual Issue highlighting some of our most impactful primary immunodeficiency research from the last three years. This collection features cutting-edge reviews, editorials and original research on topics such as newborn screening for severe combined immunodeficiency; a pilot study on the utility of whole genome sequencing technologies to diagnose PIDs; a large systemic review on the comparisons between two rare PIDs: CTLA-4 haploinsufficiency and LRBA deficiency; and given the current global pandemic, a timely report on the outcomes of UK patients with primary and secondary immunodeficiency following SARS-CoV-2 infection.
We hope you enjoy reading this collection of articles and support World Primary Immunodeficiency Week by spreading awareness on social media using the hashtag #WorldPIWeek. If you share these articles, please loop in @CEIjournal!
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