A recent study asserts that children with cancer may be no more vulnerable to the coronavirus than healthy kids.
As a result, children with cancer do not need to delay treatment for fear of becoming more vulnerable to the new coronavirus, according to a study reported on Wednesday in JAMA Oncology. “It was reassuring that they didn’t appear to be any more vulnerable than other children,” Dr. Andrew Kung, coauthor of the study and head of pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, told Reuters. “With this information we can now feel confident to forge ahead with cancer therapy and not delay out of fears of affecting susceptibility to COVID-19.”
Among children with cancer but without symptoms of coronavirus infection, only 2.5% tested positive for the virus, researchers reported. Among those who had been exposed to the virus or had symptoms suggestive of infection, 29.3% tested positive, with only one requiring hospitalization. Altogether, the team tested 178 children and 74 adult caregivers for the virus. Among the children’s asymptomatic caregivers, 14.7% turned out to be infected. “Even in that setting, we found that just half of the time when a caregiver was positive did the kid also test positive,” Kung said. “This suggests that there is something about kids that makes them less susceptible not just to the development of symptoms but to the infection itself.”
But as other strange symptoms begin to emerge, it is important for parents to remain vigilant.