Two variants of an autoimmune disease that affects thousands but is hard to diagnose are relatively common among black Africans, research shows.
The findings, relating to systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, could improve diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
They could enable better management of the disease in patients of African descent, particularly in southern Africa, where incidence and mortality rates are relatively high.
Blood tests in black African patients pinpointed a high prevalence of two types of the disease, one of which was previously unacknowledged.
Professor Francisca Mutapi, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: "For the first time, we have highlighted the importance of two variants of systemic lupus that affect black Africans, including one which was previously not defined in detail. Thanks to our research, we also have the means to diagnose and distinguish them."
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