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Coronavirus & Cancer

The COVID-19 outbreak challenges the medical community, including creating unprecedented competition for health-care resources. The oncology community has suddenly needed to protect a population assumed to be vulnerable from a potentially fatal infection, without jeopardizing cancer treatment.

The UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project (UKCCMP) prospectively collected data on 800 patients (median age 69 years, 449 [56%] men, and 349 [44%] women) with active cancer presenting between March 18 and April 26, 2020, with COVID-19.

Patients were followed up from the date of hospital admission until the patient outcomes were met (death or discharge), and 226 (28%) patients died. Although the risk of death was significantly associated with age, male sex, and comorbidities, no interaction between anticancer treatments within 4 weeks before testing positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and COVID-19 morbidity or mortality was found.

The mortality rate observed by the UKCCMP was probably due to the selection of patients who were admitted to the hospital, underlying the need for data from patients without cancer from a matched population. Moreover, ending the observation after discharge does not capture the full disease trajectory. Similarly, for CCC19, by limiting observation to 30 days, and with follow-up data missing for 80 (61%) of 132 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), mortality rates are likely to increase. Subsequently, both studies are missing important data, without concise definitions of viral and cancer stage and status.

After counting the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospital, and ICU admissions, and measuring mortality and acquirement of immunity, we will start measuring excess mortality, and comparing expected mortality country-wise with that during the pandemic. However, this measurement is not so simple, as data show that the lockdown influences other types of mortality. Whether the shortages of non-COVID-19-related health-care provisions will affect oncological and cardiovascular mortality is too early to predict.

We must focus on improving future research, prospectively collecting all relevant data considering the specific local background, encouraging international collaboration, and setting a clear goal to stop, contain, control, delay, and reduce the effects of this virus at every opportunity. Virus Guard powerful disinfectants offer one of the most effective solutions to stop cross contamination thru surfaces.

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