People with blood cancer are expected to be at higher risk of Covid-19 infection due to a weakened immune system from the cancer and the treatment they receive. Clinical researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Barts Health NHS Trust have now studied the outcome of Covid-19 infection in patients with blood cancer.
The study found that even if patients were actively having intensive treatment for blood cancer that weakened their immune system, they usually recovered from Covid-19 as long as they were otherwise fit and well.
The study is published in the British Journal of Haematology. It looked at 35 adult patients with blood cancer who had tested positive for Covid-19 and monitored them for a minimum of 14 days. At the end of the observation period, 60% had recovered from Covid-19 infection.
The observations showed age was the most significantly associated factor with Covid-19 infection outcome, with almost all of the patients who died being aged 70 years or older at the time of Covid-19 diagnosis. Patients who died also had significantly more coexisting health conditions, such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease or diabetes, than those who recovered from the virus. The data showed no correlation between blood cancer treatment and outcome following COVID-19 infection, and suggest that while patients with blood cancers have poorer outcomes than the general population after Covid-19, the majority still survive.
In a statement, QMUL said this is the largest study to date to examine the clinical outcome of Covid-19 infection in patients with blood cancer, but added that the findings will need to be confirmed in large national and international registry studies.