Nov 11, 2021
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95% of children with cancer fully recover from COVID-19

Experts from the Goethe University analyzed the medical records of 131 children under 19 years old with cancer and confirmed COVID-19 from ten countries, including Russia. Some patients have previously had bone marrow transplants.

A third of the infected children did not have any symptoms of COVID-19, 47% tolerated the infection easily, 8% moderately, 4% of patients were in serious condition, another 9% were in critical condition. The symptoms of the disease in general did not differ from the symptoms of coronavirus in healthy children – fever, cough, runny nose, gastrointestinal upset. Hospitalization was required for 37%, four died. In 95% of cases, the children recovered safely.

In all severe cases, concomitant infections, mainly bacterial, were identified in children. In addition, in these patients, the level of leukocytes was significantly lower than normal, which means that the immune system is not able to fight the disease-causing agents.

Among children undergoing treatment, chemotherapy was delayed in a third of cases. However, this delay did not have a significant impact on the risk of severe complications, the scientists stressed. There was no difference in clinical outcomes between patients receiving treatment and those who completed it.

The study authors also found that most of the children contracted the infection from their family members, not in the hospital. All this suggests that the relatives of such patients should observe increased preventive measures, including vaccination.

Earlier, US scientists conducted a global analysis of the incidence of coronavirus among pediatric cancer patients in 45 countries and received less optimistic results. Such children have a fourfold mortality risk compared to healthy peers. The key risk factors for the severe course of the disease were intensive cancer treatment and a low number of immune cells in the blood.

The study authors noted that rates of infection severity and mortality from COVID-19 in children with cancer varied significantly depending on the economic situation of the country. For example, in low- and middle-income countries, the risk of severe disease in such patients was almost 6 times higher than in children with cancer in rich countries.

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