Nov 1, 2021
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Recent chemotherapy increases risk of death from COVID-19 in cancer patients by 84%

Scientists from the University of Texas collected data from more than 507,000 Americans who had COVID-19 confirmed during 2020. Among the participants, various cancers were diagnosed in 14.3 thousand people. They were divided into two groups: those who had undergone treatment for a long time, and those who received a course of radiation or chemotherapy within three months prior to infection.

The study found that in general, people with cancer are almost five times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to the general population. The most vulnerable are patients who have recently undergone treatment: their risk of hospitalization is increased by 20%, and the likelihood of death is increased by 75%.

In a special risk group were patients who have undergone radiation or chemotherapy in the past three months: the risk of death is increased by 84%. According to scientists, this is because aggressive treatment severely weakens the immune response needed to fight infection.

“At the same time, patients with cancer who have been treated for a long time did not have worse clinical outcomes than people without cancer,” the authors of the study said.

Scientists believe that patients with malignant tumors should have the priority right not only not to vaccination, but also to receive a booster dose of the vaccine.

Previously, researchers at the Francis Crick Institute found that a third of patients with blood cancer (31%) do not develop antibodies after being fully vaccinated.

The strongest immune response was developed in patients who had suffered from COVID-19 prior to vaccination. Among participants with various types of blood cancer, the titer of antibodies turned out to be one third higher, on average, if they had previously been confirmed to have an infection.

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