Kids with cancer not at greater COVID-19 risk
New York: Researchers have found that children with cancer are no more vulnerable than other children to COVID-19 infection or morbidity resulting from the disease.
For the study, the researchers from MSK Kids at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York performed COVID-19 testing on pediatric patients and their adult caregivers.
Of the 178 pediatric cancer patients tested, the rate of positivity for COVID-19 was 29.3 per cent in children with symptoms, but only 2.5 per cent in asymptomatic children.
Of all children with cancer infected with COVID-19, 95 per cent had mild symptoms and did not require hospitalisation, said the study published in the journal JAMA Oncology.
“We are encouraged by these latest findings that kids with cancer are not more endangered by COVID-19 and their symptoms are mild like in healthy children,” said and corresponding author on the study Andrew Kung, Chair of MSK Kids.
“These findings allow us to continue lifesaving cancer-directed therapy with standard precautions and safeguards but without heightened concern about adverse effects from COVID-19 infection.”
Only half of the children with COVID-19 positive caregivers were themselves also COVID-19 positive, the results showed.
The researchers also found a very significant sex skewing with the vast majority of COVID-19 infections occurring in males.
Together, these results suggest that children with cancer are not more susceptible than other children to infection or symptoms resulting from COVID-19, and that children are not an unrecognised reservoir of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection.