London– Researchers have found that paediatric cancer patients who test positive for Covid-19 do not appear to be at any increased risk of severe Covid-19 infection compared to healthy children.
The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, analysed the severity of Covid-19 infection in children with cancer.
“The Covid-19 pandemic spread rapidly in the early part of 2020 and there were initial concerns about the severity of the infection in adults with cancer,” said the study’s lead author Gerard Millen from the University of Birmingham in the UK.
“While children overall seemed to be less severely affected, little was known about the effects in children with cancer,” Millen added.
The results found that the majority of patients either had mild infections or were asymptomatic. No patient died from Covid-19 and only 5 per cent required intensive care support.
Launched in April, the UK Paediatric Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project was set up following a similar project in adult cancer patients coordinated by the University of Birmingham.
The aim was to collect real-time outcome data on all children with cancer in the UK who on admission to hospital tested positive for Covid-19 so that the severity of their illness could be collected nationally.
Designed in cooperation with the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), the project enabled all the centres in the UK that look after children with cancer to enrol into the study.
The data gathered was shared with clinicians and the CCLG in real-time to inform advice on shielding in this group of patients.
Due to the data produced from this study, the CCLG was able to amend the shielding advice to remove the majority of children with cancer from the group needing to shield.
“The results are reassuring to parents around the country that children with cancer are at no greater risk of developing serious symptoms of Covid-19 than other children,” Millen noted. (IANS)