Data on the prevalence and outcomes of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in children with cancer is limited, more so from developing countries. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence, severity and outcome of COVID-19 in pediatric oncology patients by implementing a screening and testing plan. Among 104 children tested, the rate of COVID-19 positivity was 15% and 3% in symptomatic and asymptomatic respectively. Majority had mild illness with uneventful recovery, whereas neutropenia increased the risk of serious illness. Prolonged virus shedding with a median time to negativity of 21 days was observed.
The pandemic of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19 is having a serious impact on pediatric patients with cancer. Social distancing, self-quarantining and nationwide lockdown have resulted in restricted movements of patients and families across the country. This has made the optimum management of children with cancer difficult. In this clinical perspective, we discuss the issues related to COVID-19 and pediatric cancer and how we have attempted to optimize the treatment for our patients using telemedicine, reorganizing the day care services, triaging our patients and modifying their treatment plans, partnered with the NGOs and local medical centres to provide care to our patients.