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Screening for COVID-19 in Asymptomatic Patients With Cancer in a Hospital in the United Arab Emirates

Educational Objective
To understand how to screen for COVID-19 in asymptomatic patients with cancer
1 Credit CME

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic grows, accumulating evidence suggests that patients with cancer have increased risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and subsequent morbidity and mortality.13 Further, COVID-19 may be asymptomatic.4 Despite limited evidence, the European Society for Medical Oncology recommends universal microbiologic SARS-CoV-2 screening for patients undergoing active anticancer therapy.5 To identify asymptomatic COVID-19, we implemented universal microbiologic screening for SARS-CoV-2 for all asymptomatic patients with cancer prior to anticancer therapy at Alzahra Hospital Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Humaid O. Al-Shamsi, MD, MRCP, University of Sharjah, University City Road, PO Box 27272, Sharjah. United Arab Emirates (humaid.al-shamsi@medportal.ca).

Accepted for Publication: May 11, 2020.

Published Online: May 27, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2548

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY-NC-ND License. © 2020 Al-Shamsi HO et al. JAMA Oncology.

Author Contributions: Drs Al-Shamsi and Alrawi had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Al-Shamsi.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Al-Shamsi, Coomes.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Al-Shamsi, Coomes.

Obtained funding: Al-Shamsi.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Al-Shamsi, Alrawi.

Supervision: Al-Shamsi, Alrawi.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Al-Shamsi received publication funding from Roche Pharmaceuticals Middle East FZCO. Dr Coomes reports grants from Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund outside the submitted work; and Dr Coomes has submitted applications as a coprincipal investigator on a randomized clinical trial for chemoprophylaxis for COVID-19. No other conflicts are reported.

Funding/Support: Roche Pharmaceuticals Middle East FZCO, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Roche Pharmaceuticals provided funding for open-access publication.

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: Roche Pharmaceuticals had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Additional Contributions: We thank all patients and their families who were enrolled in this study.

References
1.
Liang  W , Guan  W , Chen  R ,  et al.  Cancer patients in SARS-CoV-2 infection: a nationwide analysis in China.   Lancet Oncol. 2020;21(3):335-337. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30096-6PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
Al-Shamsi  HO , Alhazzani  W , Alhuraiji  A ,  et al.  A practical approach to the management of cancer patients during the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: an international collaborative group.   Oncologist. 2020. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2020-0213PubMedGoogle Scholar
3.
Yu  J , Ouyang  W , Chua  MLK , Xie  C .  SARS-CoV-2 transmission in patients with cancer at a tertiary care hospital in Wuhan, China.   JAMA Oncol. 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0980PubMedGoogle Scholar
4.
Sutton  D , Fuchs  K , D’Alton  M , Goffman  D .  Universal screening for SARS-CoV-2 in women admitted for delivery.   N Engl J Med. 2020. doi:10.1056/NEJMc2009316PubMedGoogle Scholar
5.
European Society of Medical Oncology. Cancer patient management during the COVID-19 pandemic. European Society of Medical Oncology Web Site. https://www.esmo.org/guidelines/cancer-patient-management-during-the-covid-19-pandemic. 2020. Accessed April 17, 2020.
6.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. COVID-19 patient care information. American Society of Clinical Oncology Web Site. https://www.asco.org/asco-coronavirus-information/care-individuals-cancer-during-covid-19. 2020. Accessed April 12, 2020.
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