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SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children with Cancer: Experience from a Tertiary Care Center in North IndiaFunding None.
Introduction Children with cancer are immunocompromised due to the disease per se or anticancer therapy. Children are believed to be at a lower risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease.
Objective This study analyzed the outcome of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in children with cancer.
Materials and Methods A retrospective analysis was performed on patients (≤ 14 years) with cancer attending the pediatric oncology services of our institute who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 infection and those who had COVID-19 disease between August 2020 and May 2021. Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction performed on the nasopharyngeal swab identified the SARS-CoV-2 infection. The primary endpoints were clinical recovery, interruption of cancer treatment, and associated morbidity and mortality.
Results Sixty-six (5.7%) of 1,146 tests were positive for the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Fifty-two (79%) and 14 (21%) patients had hematolymphoid and solid malignancies. Thirty-two (48.5%) patients were asymptomatic. A mild-moderate, severe, or critical disease was observed in 75% (18/24), 12.5% (3/24), and 12.5% (3/24) of the symptomatic patients. The “all-cause” mortality was 7.6% (5/66), with only one (1.5%) death attributable to COVID-19. Two (3%) patients required ventilation. Two (3%) patients had a delay in cancer diagnosis secondary to COVID-19 infection. Thirty-eight (57.6%) had a disruption in anticancer treatment.
Conclusion Children with cancer do not appear to be at an increased risk of severe illness due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our findings substantiate continuing the delivery of nonintensive anticancer treatment unless sick. However, SARS-CoV-2 infection interrupted anticancer therapy in a considerable proportion of children.
Data Availability Statement
The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to privacy or ethical restrictions.
Article published online:
17 May 2023
© 2023. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, permitting unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction so long as the original work is properly cited. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
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