Covid infections severe in children with cancer than others: Lancet

New York, August 27 (IANS): Globally, nearly 20 percent of children with cancer who become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, have more serious infections than children without cancer, according to an international study published in the journal The Lancet Oncology.

Overall, however, only 1-6 percent of children have reported serious infections.

The study, led by the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee, USA, showed that, in addition to more severe or critical infections, pediatric cancer patients required more hospitalization (65 percent), admission, or transfer to a higher level of care. needed. care (17 percent) and death (4 percent) due to Covid-19 infections compared to 0.01-0.7 percent deaths reported in general pediatric patients.

The pandemic disrupted cancer treatment. In 56 percent of the patients, cancer therapy was adjusted and in 45 percent, chemotherapy was withheld while their infections were being treated.

These effects were seen more significantly in low- and middle-income countries, where the risk of serious or critical illness from Covid-19 was almost six times greater than in high-income countries.

“The results clearly and definitively show that children with cancer do worse with Covid-19 than children without cancer,” said Sheena Mukkada, St Jude’s Departments of Global Pediatric Medicine and Infectious Diseases.

The analysis looked at 1,500 children from 131 hospitals in 45 countries from April 15, 2020 to February 1, 2021. This is before vaccinations become available for older children in some parts of the world and before the emergence of certain disease variants, including delta, which responsible for the new wave of Covid-19 and have become a major global problem.

The study suggests biological factors that likely influence how children with cancer respond to Covid-19. These include the functioning of the immune system and the underlying disease.

The researchers emphasized the importance of vaccinating children against Covid-19, as they have shown that they are safe and effective in preventing severe forms of the disease, helping patients avoid hospitalizations and the need for mechanical ventilation.

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