The Center of Disease Control (CDC) has modified Covid-19 quarantine recommendations on December 2nd, 2020. The updated recommendations can be summarized as follows :
For the full text of the CDC guidelines, please click on the link highlighted above.
Just about all of us will be happy about that news. HOWEVER, little has been known about how long immunocompromised patients can be contagious. That question is finally being reported on in a letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine titled ‘Shedding of Viable SARS-CoV-2 after Immunosuppressive Therapy for Cancer’ signed by a combined team of researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (both institutions are located in New York City).
This team analyzed the respiratory samples of 20 immunocompromised patients, diagnosed and hospitalized with Covid-19 in the March-April 2020 timeframe for a prolonged period. ‘These patients included 18 recipients of hematopoietic stem-cell transplants or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy and 2 patients with lymphoma.’ Seven of the 20 patients were multiple myeloma patients and ‘15 were receiving active treatment or chemotherapy.’
And now for the conclusions:
And there you have it. Those revised CDC quarantining guidelines do not quite apply to the lot of us, MM (or other hematological malignancies) patients. If we, patients, are exposed and it turns out from testing that we have been infected, then we better not quarantine for short periods of time as we will continue to be infectious for two months, and put those around us at risk.
about the author
I am a patient diagnosed in 2014 with primary plasma cell leukemia (pPCL), a rare and aggressive variant of multiple myeloma and have been very fortunate to find successful treatment at the division of Cellular Therapy at the Duke University Cancer Institute. My wife, Vicki, and I have two adult children and two grandsons who are the ‘lights of our lives’. Successful treatment has allowed Vicki and I to do what we love best : traveling the world, albeit it with some extra precautions to keep infections away. My career in the pharmaceutical industry has given me insights that I am currently putting to use as an advocate to lower drug pricing, especially prices for anti-cancer drugs. I am a firm believer that staying mentally active, physically fit, compliant to our treatment regimen and taking an active interest in our disease are keys to successful treatment outcomes.