The national US newborn screening guidelines now include the ‘Bubble boy disease’ that is affecting newborns in the US.

The disease, formally known as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), destroys part of the immune system and leaves untreated babies in danger of dying from common bacteria, viruses and fungi.

The disease received its common name from David Vetter, a Texan boy with SCID who spent his life in a sterile plastic cocoon before succumbing to cancer at the age of 12.

Babies who are left untreated usually die within a year, experts said. An early bone marrow transplant can extend an affected baby’s life into its 20s and beyond.

The American College of Medical Genetics first proposed the newborn screening panel in 2006 including 29 “core” conditions, such as cystic fibrosis and phenylketonuria, a metabolic disorder that, untreated, can cause severe brain damage.

The price for screening is $50 a baby and detects approximately 12,000 cases in the US every year, according to Reuters.

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