Nihal Bitla , the face of progeria, dies at 15


A 15-year-old boy, who was suffering from Progeria and had become the face of a campaign against the rare genetic disorder in the country, has died.
Nihal Bitla, from Bhiwandi in adjoining Thane district, was fighting the disease that aged him eight times faster than
He was at his grandparents’ house at Karimnagar in Telangana to attend a family wedding. On Monday evening, he felt dehydrated due to the scorching heat and had to be rushed to a private hospital for treatment.
Within a few hours, he passed away, family sources said. His last rites were performed in Karimnagar yesterday.
Nihal and his family had taken up the challenge of raising awareness about the incurable disease, which has an incidence of one in four million, and of finding more such cases for medical intervention in the country.
The boy, who was part of a clinical trial for Lonafarnib drug in Boston to test if the drug could delay ageing, had posted his pictures on Facebook and  to reach out to parents, specially in rural areas.
Progeria or Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome, from which Nihal suffered, causes accelerated ageing in children, leading to premature death mostly due to heart attacks.



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