Artwork based on a scanning electron micrograph (SEM), showing deformed red blood cells in sickle cell anaemia (drepanocytosis), a hereditary blood disease that affects black people. Sickle cell disease results from the production of abnormal haemoglobin (Hbs) in red blood cells. Hbs becomes insoluble when the blood is deprived of oxygen and precipitates, forming elongated crystals that distort the red cells (normally biconcave discs) into sickle shapes. Sickle cells are rapidly removed from the circulation, causing anaemia.
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