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COVID-19 worse in children with cancer

Memphis, Tennessee, August 26, 2021

Researcher looks at computer while working in the lab.

Corresponding author Sheena Mukkada, M.D., St. Jude Departments of Global Pediatric Medicine and Infectious Diseases, studied global registry results that clearly show children with cancer are more affected by COVID-19 than children without cancer.

Scientists at St. Jude and the International Society of Paediatric Oncology are studying how the COVID-19 pandemic affects children with cancer. To do so, they created the Global Registry of COVID-19 in Childhood Cancer. The registry collects data on kids around the world who have cancer and who have also had COVID-19.

Twenty percent of patients in the registry had severe or critical COVID-19. That is much higher than children generally. More pediatric cancer patients were hospitalized. They also had a higher risk of dying from COVID-19.

Results also showed cancer care was disrupted. Severe or critical disease was higher in patients from low- and middle-income settings.

“Pediatric cancer patients do not fare as well with COVID-19 as other kids,” said Sheena Mukkada, MD, St. Jude Departments of Global Pediatric Medicine and Infectious Diseases. “This study provides good data to inform treatments as we continue caring for children with cancer during the pandemic.”

The Lancet Oncology published this work.

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