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      The COVID‐19 pandemic: A rapid global response for children with cancer from SIOP, COG, SIOP‐E, SIOP‐PODC, IPSO, PROS, CCI, and St Jude Global

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          Abstract The COVID‐19 pandemic is one of the most serious global challenges to delivering affordable and equitable treatment to children with cancer we have witnessed in the last few decades. This Special Report aims to summarize general principles for continuing multidisciplinary care during the SARS‐CoV‐2 (COVID‐19) pandemic. With contributions from the leadership of the International Society for Pediatric Oncology (SIOP), Children's Oncology Group (COG), St Jude Global program, and Childhood Cancer International, we have sought to provide a framework for healthcare teams caring for children with cancer during the pandemic. We anticipate the burden will fall particularly heavily on children, their families, and cancer services in low‐ and middle‐income countries. Therefore, we have brought together the relevant clinical leads from SIOP Europe, COG, and SIOP‐PODC (Pediatric Oncology in Developing Countries) to focus on the six most curable cancers that are part of the WHO Global Initiative in Childhood Cancer. We provide some practical advice for adapting diagnostic and treatment protocols for children with cancer during the pandemic, the measures taken to contain it (e.g., extreme social distancing), and how to prepare for the anticipated recovery period.

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          Cancer patients in SARS-CoV-2 infection: a nationwide analysis in China

          China and the rest of the world are experiencing an outbreak of a novel betacoronavirus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). 1 By Feb 12, 2020, the rapid spread of the virus had caused 42 747 cases and 1017 deaths in China and cases have been reported in 25 countries, including the USA, Japan, and Spain. WHO has declared 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, a public health emergency of international concern. In contrast to severe acute respiratory system coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, more deaths from COVID-19 have been caused by multiple organ dysfunction syndrome rather than respiratory failure, 2 which might be attributable to the widespread distribution of angiotensin converting enzyme 2—the functional receptor for SARS-CoV-2—in multiple organs.3, 4 Patients with cancer are more susceptible to infection than individuals without cancer because of their systemic immunosuppressive state caused by the malignancy and anticancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or surgery.5, 6, 7, 8 Therefore, these patients might be at increased risk of COVID-19 and have a poorer prognosis. On behalf of the National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease, we worked together with the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China to establish a prospective cohort to monitor COVID-19 cases throughout China. As of the data cutoff on Jan 31, 2020, we have collected and analysed 2007 cases from 575 hospitals (appendix pp 4–9 for a full list) in 31 provincial administrative regions. All cases were diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 acute respiratory disease and were admitted to hospital. We excluded 417 cases because of insufficient records of previous disease history. 18 (1%; 95% CI 0·61–1·65) of 1590 COVID-19 cases had a history of cancer, which seems to be higher than the incidence of cancer in the overall Chinese population (285·83 [0·29%] per 100 000 people, according to 2015 cancer epidemiology statistics 9 ). Detailed information about the 18 patients with cancer with COVID-19 is summarised in the appendix (p 1). Lung cancer was the most frequent type (five [28%] of 18 patients). Four (25%) of 16 patients (two of the 18 patients had unknown treatment status) with cancer with COVID-19 had received chemotherapy or surgery within the past month, and the other 12 (25%) patients were cancer survivors in routine follow-up after primary resection. Compared with patients without cancer, patients with cancer were older (mean age 63·1 years [SD 12·1] vs 48·7 years [16·2]), more likely to have a history of smoking (four [22%] of 18 patients vs 107 [7%] of 1572 patients), had more polypnea (eight [47%] of 17 patients vs 323 [23%] of 1377 patients; some data were missing on polypnea), and more severe baseline CT manifestation (17 [94%] of 18 patients vs 1113 [71%] of 1572 patients), but had no significant differences in sex, other baseline symptoms, other comorbidities, or baseline severity of x-ray (appendix p 2). Most importantly, patients with cancer were observed to have a higher risk of severe events (a composite endpoint defined as the percentage of patients being admitted to the intensive care unit requiring invasive ventilation, or death) compared with patients without cancer (seven [39%] of 18 patients vs 124 [8%] of 1572 patients; Fisher's exact p=0·0003). We observed similar results when the severe events were defined both by the above objective events and physician evaluation (nine [50%] of 18 patients vs 245 [16%] of 1572 patients; Fisher's exact p=0·0008). Moreover, patients who underwent chemotherapy or surgery in the past month had a numerically higher risk (three [75%] of four patients) of clinically severe events than did those not receiving chemotherapy or surgery (six [43%] of 14 patients; figure ). These odds were further confirmed by logistic regression (odds ratio [OR] 5·34, 95% CI 1·80–16·18; p=0·0026) after adjusting for other risk factors, including age, smoking history, and other comorbidities. Cancer history represented the highest risk for severe events (appendix p 3). Among patients with cancer, older age was the only risk factor for severe events (OR 1·43, 95% CI 0·97–2·12; p=0·072). Patients with lung cancer did not have a higher probability of severe events compared with patients with other cancer types (one [20%] of five patients with lung cancer vs eight [62%] of 13 patients with other types of cancer; p=0·294). Additionally, we used a Cox regression model to evaluate the time-dependent hazards of developing severe events, and found that patients with cancer deteriorated more rapidly than those without cancer (median time to severe events 13 days [IQR 6–15] vs 43 days [20–not reached]; p<0·0001; hazard ratio 3·56, 95% CI 1·65–7·69, after adjusting for age; figure). Figure Severe events in patients without cancer, cancer survivors, and patients with cancer (A) and risks of developing severe events for patients with cancer and patients without cancer (B) ICU=intensive care unit. In this study, we analysed the risk for severe COVID-19 in patients with cancer for the first time, to our knowledge; only by nationwide analysis can we follow up patients with rare but important comorbidities, such as cancer. We found that patients with cancer might have a higher risk of COVID-19 than individuals without cancer. Additionally, we showed that patients with cancer had poorer outcomes from COVID-19, providing a timely reminder to physicians that more intensive attention should be paid to patients with cancer, in case of rapid deterioration. Therefore, we propose three major strategies for patients with cancer in this COVID-19 crisis, and in future attacks of severe infectious diseases. First, an intentional postponing of adjuvant chemotherapy or elective surgery for stable cancer should be considered in endemic areas. Second, stronger personal protection provisions should be made for patients with cancer or cancer survivors. Third, more intensive surveillance or treatment should be considered when patients with cancer are infected with SARS-CoV-2, especially in older patients or those with other comorbidities.
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            Is Open Access

            Aerosol Generating Procedures and Risk of Transmission of Acute Respiratory Infections to Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review

            Aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) may expose health care workers (HCWs) to pathogens causing acute respiratory infections (ARIs), but the risk of transmission of ARIs from AGPs is not fully known. We sought to determine the clinical evidence for the risk of transmission of ARIs to HCWs caring for patients undergoing AGPs compared with the risk of transmission to HCWs caring for patients not undergoing AGPs. We searched PubMed, EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, University of York CRD databases, EuroScan, LILACS, Indian Medlars, Index Medicus for SE Asia, international health technology agencies and the Internet in all languages for articles from 01/01/1990 to 22/10/2010. Independent reviewers screened abstracts using pre-defined criteria, obtained full-text articles, selected relevant studies, and abstracted data. Disagreements were resolved by consensus. The outcome of interest was risk of ARI transmission. The quality of evidence was rated using the GRADE system. We identified 5 case-control and 5 retrospective cohort studies which evaluated transmission of SARS to HCWs. Procedures reported to present an increased risk of transmission included [n; pooled OR(95%CI)] tracheal intubation [n = 4 cohort; 6.6 (2.3, 18.9), and n = 4 case-control; 6.6 (4.1, 10.6)], non-invasive ventilation [n = 2 cohort; OR 3.1(1.4, 6.8)], tracheotomy [n = 1 case-control; 4.2 (1.5, 11.5)] and manual ventilation before intubation [n = 1 cohort; OR 2.8 (1.3, 6.4)]. Other intubation associated procedures, endotracheal aspiration, suction of body fluids, bronchoscopy, nebulizer treatment, administration of O2, high flow O2, manipulation of O2 mask or BiPAP mask, defibrillation, chest compressions, insertion of nasogastric tube, and collection of sputum were not significant. Our findings suggest that some procedures potentially capable of generating aerosols have been associated with increased risk of SARS transmission to HCWs or were a risk factor for transmission, with the most consistent association across multiple studies identified with tracheal intubation.
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              SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children

              To the Editor: As of March 10, 2020, the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has been responsible for more than 110,000 infections and 4000 deaths worldwide, but data regarding the epidemiologic characteristics and clinical features of infected children are limited. 1-3 A recent review of 72,314 cases by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that less than 1% of the cases were in children younger than 10 years of age. 2 In order to determine the spectrum of disease in children, we evaluated children infected with SARS-CoV-2 and treated at the Wuhan Children’s Hospital, the only center assigned by the central government for treating infected children under 16 years of age in Wuhan. Both symptomatic and asymptomatic children with known contact with persons having confirmed or suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection were evaluated. Nasopharyngeal or throat swabs were obtained for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by established methods. 4 The clinical outcomes were monitored up to March 8, 2020. Of the 1391 children assessed and tested from January 28 through February 26, 2020, a total of 171 (12.3%) were confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 infection. Demographic data and clinical features are summarized in Table 1. (Details of the laboratory and radiologic findings are provided in the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at The median age of the infected children was 6.7 years. Fever was present in 41.5% of the children at any time during the illness. Other common signs and symptoms included cough and pharyngeal erythema. A total of 27 patients (15.8%) did not have any symptoms of infection or radiologic features of pneumonia. A total of 12 patients had radiologic features of pneumonia but did not have any symptoms of infection. During the course of hospitalization, 3 patients required intensive care support and invasive mechanical ventilation; all had coexisting conditions (hydronephrosis, leukemia [for which the patient was receiving maintenance chemotherapy], and intussusception). Lymphopenia (lymphocyte count, <1.2×109 per liter) was present in 6 patients (3.5%). The most common radiologic finding was bilateral ground-glass opacity (32.7%). As of March 8, 2020, there was one death. A 10-month-old child with intussusception had multiorgan failure and died 4 weeks after admission. A total of 21 patients were in stable condition in the general wards, and 149 have been discharged from the hospital. This report describes a spectrum of illness from SARS-CoV-2 infection in children. In contrast with infected adults, most infected children appear to have a milder clinical course. Asymptomatic infections were not uncommon. 2 Determination of the transmission potential of these asymptomatic patients is important for guiding the development of measures to control the ongoing pandemic.

                Author and article information

                Pediatric Blood & Cancer
                Pediatr Blood Cancer
                May 13 2020
                [1 ]Children's Cancer CentreRoyal Children's Hospital and Department of PaediatricsFaculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health SciencesUniversity of Melbourne Melbourne Australia
                [2 ]Division of Haematology/OncologyHospital for Sick Children Toronto Ontario Canada
                [3 ]Department of Global Pediatric MedicineSt Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis Tennessee
                [4 ]Hematology/Oncology/SCT Children's Hospital ColoradoUniversity of Colorado Aurora Colorado
                [5 ]Pediatric Hematology OncologyTawam Hospital Al Ain Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
                [6 ]Birmingham Children's Hospital and Institute of Cancer and Genomic SciencesUniversity of Birmingham Edgbaston Birmingham UK
                [7 ]Pediatric Hematology/OncologySeattle Children's Hospital Seattle Washington
                [8 ]School of NursingUniversity of California San Francisco San Francisco California
                [9 ]Division of NursingHematology/OncologyBoston Children's Hospital Boston Massachusetts
                [10 ]Department of Pediatric Surgery Children's HospitalUniversity of TuebingenTuebingen Germany
                [11 ]Dana‐Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders CenterBrigham and Women's HospitalHarvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
                [12 ]Paediatric DepartmentMBBM FoundationASST Monza Ospedale San GerardoUniversity of Milano Bicocca Monza Italy
                [13 ]Childhood Cancer International ( and International representative of FedEspañola de Padres de NIÑOS CON Cáncer ( Madrid Spain
                [14 ]Departments of Global Pediatric Medicine and Infectious DiseasesSt Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis Tennessee
                [15 ]Division of Quality of Life and Palliative CareDepartment of OncologySt Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis Tennessee
                [16 ]Pediatric Hematology OncologyOncology InstituteIstanbul University Istanbul Turkey
                [17 ]Pediatric Hematology and OncologyMohammed V University of Rabat, Rabat Morocco
                [18 ]School of Cancer ScienceKing's College London, UKInstitute of Cancer Policy and Conflict and Health Research Groupand Research for Health Care in Conflict (https://r4hc‐, London, UK
                [19 ]International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP)UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child HealthUniversity College London London UK
                © 2020




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