What is it about?

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected people with serious health conditions, such as patients who have cancer. A study of the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium registry (which has data on patients who have or have had cancer and COVID-19) found that 13% of these patients died within 30 days of infection. Thus, to improve clinical outcomes, it is important to understand which treatments were effective in treating COVID-19 in patients with cancer. To find out, scientists further analyzed the registry's data to check the effect of various treatments on patients with cancer and COVID-19. They did so by looking at the number of deaths within 30 days of infection, with or without treatment. The study also explored various patient factors involved during the treatment. Among the treatments assessed, remdesivir (an antiviral drug) was found to be effective. Other drug therapies did not have any significant effect on death rates in these patients. The study also looked at how demographic factors affected patients with COVID-19 and cancer. The findings showed that Black patients were less likely to receive treatment with remdesivir than White patients. This hints towards the fact that there may be racial disparities in treatment access and outcomes.

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Why is it important?

When the pandemic first broke out, it was necessary to know which treatments were effective against COVID-19. The disease's novel nature meant that clinical trial data concerning its treatment were scarce. In such a scenario, observational studies (such as this one) can provide some insight into the practical outcomes of different treatments. They can help speed up the process of finding effective treatments for COVID-19. KEY TAKEAWAY: Remdesivir was found to be effective in treating patients with cancer and COVID-19. Clinical trials must be conducted to verify the efficacy of treatments for this disease. Such trials should be inclusive and promote equality among participants.

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This page is a summary of: Utilization of COVID-19 Treatments and Clinical Outcomes among Patients with Cancer: A COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) Cohort Study, Cancer Discovery, July 2020, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), DOI: 10.1158/2159-8290.cd-20-0941.
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