Ayda, 4, starts life-prolonging cystic fibrosis drug

The father of a four-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis says having access to a drug that could prolong her life was the best Christmas present the family could receive.

Ayda Louden, from Carlisle, in Cumbria, was diagnosed with the condition shortly after she was born. Her family has campaigned for access to the drug Orkambi for most of her life, and was seriously considering moving to Scotland where it was available.

This was before the NHS in England reached an agreement with the pharmaceutical company on Orkambi and, a similar drug, Symkev.

The treatment, which has to be taken for life, normalises how the lungs work, helps the body fight infections and increases Ayda's life expectancy.

Orkambi was made available on the NHS in October 2019. Credit: ITV News

Dave Loudon, Ayda's father, said: "You can't put it into words. It's just absolutely brilliant that she's got it and she's now going to have the best chance at life. "

Just a couple of weeks ago Ayda could not play with her big brother Alfie for very long before getting tired. "It'll improve quality of her life. We're seeing that already with the amount of energy she has and the extra hours she can get out of each day", Dave Louden explains.

"It will prolong her lung health and keep her them healthier for longer, as well as massively reduce the length of hospital stays and bad infections she'll have in the future.

"There is no better gift than the chance of a healthy, longer life for Ayda and for us as a family."