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COVID-19 and CLL: Barcelona Hospital Experience

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2020

In a Letter to the Editor published in Leukemia, a “seemingly low” prevalence of COVID-19 was reported in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) at a Barcelona hospital reference center for CLL, but Tycho Baumann, MD, of the University of Barcelona, and colleagues cautioned that the occurrence rate may increase as the pandemic persists. The authors also noted that results from recently launched studies will eventually help clarify the prevalence of COVID-19 in this patient population.

A total of 804 patients with CLL registered at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona between 2000 and 2019 were included in this evaluation. The median overall survival for that patient group was 11.8 years. Of those patients, 384 died, with 35% having COVID-19 infection as a cause of death, and 420 are currently living. At a median follow-up of 7.9 years, four patients (0.95%) have been diagnosed with COVID-19. All diagnosed patients were men with comorbidities, including increased ferritin levels, lymphocytopenia, and increased D-dimer levels, and two patients had undergone prior therapy for CLL leukemia.

None of the patients with COVID-19 required admission to an intensive care unit. Recovery for three patients occurred within 4 to 8 days, and one patient recovered following 24 days of experimental treatment.

“It could be speculated that the CLL-related immunodeficiency, rather than exacerbating the effects of SARS-CoV-2, might prevent them,” noted the authors.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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