The blood cancer groups most vulnerable to COVID-19
Australia has been in an enviable position when it comes to COVID-19. We have been able to watch and learn from the Northern Hemisphere. Prof Miles Prince used this knowledge to indicate which blood cancer patient groups are most vulnerable to COVID-19.
There are three main groups:
1. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients who are in the midst of treatment and have had antibody treatment or treatment with ibrutinib, venetoclax or acalabrutinib need to take extra care. If you have been diagnosed with CLL and are UNDER OBSERVATION AND NOT HAD treatment YET, evidence would suggest you are not at an increased risk.
2. If you are receiving monoclonal antibodies for CD-20 such as rituximab your immune system will not be very strong. You should take extra care to avoid COVID-19. It takes approximately 6 months after completing rituximab treatment for your immune system to START TO SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVE.
3. If you have myeloma and are in the midst of treatment, there are greater risks of getting a significant COVID-19 infection. Unfortunately, the vaccine is not very effective in myeloma patients who are receiving treatment. However, myeloma patients pre-treatment, one year post-transplant and those with smouldering myeloma appear to not be at SUBSTANTIALLY increased risk.