Supplement article - Letter to the editors | Volume 35 (2): 5. 16 Apr 2020 | 10.11604/pamj.supp.2020.35.2.22619

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on bone marrow transplantation in Morocco

Maryame Ahnach, Kamal Doghmi

Corresponding author: Maryame Ahnach, Department of Hematology, Cheikh khalifa International University Hospital, Mohammed VI University of Health Sciences Casablanca, Morocco

Received: 02 Apr 2020 - Accepted: 10 Apr 2020 - Published: 16 Apr 2020

Domain: Oncology

Keywords: COVID 19, allogenic, autologous, stem cell transplantation

This articles is published as part of the supplement PAMJ Special issue on COVID - 19 in Africa, commissioned by The Pan African Medical Journal.

©Maryame Ahnach et al. Pan African Medical Journal (ISSN: 1937-8688). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Cite this article: Maryame Ahnach et al. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on bone marrow transplantation in Morocco. Pan African Medical Journal. 2020;35(2):5. [doi: 10.11604/pamj.supp.2020.35.2.22619]

Available online at: https://www.panafrican-med-journal.com/content/series/35/2/5/full

Home | Supplements | Volume 35 | This supplement | Article number 5

Letter to the editors

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on bone marrow transplantation in Morocco

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on bone marrow transplantation in Morocco

Maryame Ahnach1,&, Kamal Doghmi2

 

1Department of Hematology, Cheikh khalifa International University Hospital, Mohammed VI University of Health Sciences Casablanca, Morocco, 2Department of Hematology, Military Hospital Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco

 

 

&Corresponding author
Maryame Ahnach, Department of Hematology, Cheikh khalifa International University Hospital, Mohammed VI University of Health Sciences Casablanca, Morocco

 

 

To the editors of Pan African Medical Journal    Down

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest threat we have faced during this century. As a highly contagious virus, the infection emerged in China in January 2020 [1] and rapidly spread globally; with the most affected regions being the USA, Europe, Republic of Korea and Iran. According to the World Health Organizations´ (WHO) data, in April 2020, one million of the population has been infected with more than 50 000 deaths [2]. To date, in the absence of any specific treatment, our knowledge about this disease remains very limited and is subject to rapid change. Cancer is considered a risk factor for COVID-19 infection (1%) [3], with very few cases reported in hematology-Oncology, but with no data related to bone marrow transplant. This virus represents a serious danger for patients with hematologic malignancies scheduled for bone marrow transplant due to myeloablative conditioning and immunosuppressive treatments. People receiving chemotherapy with compromised immune systems and complications after stem cell transplant have an increased risk for infection [4]. During a bone marrow transplant, pulmonary complications are frequent and associated to death [5]. COVID-19 infection may complicate clinical symptoms with higher risk of respiratory distress [6], and this situation could be even more critical depending on factors of co-morbidity such as age, cardiovascular, liver and kidney diseases [7]. In addition to the virulence of the infection, restrictive government measures cause many obstacles and difficulties for the transplant course: 1) blood transfusion is vital for transplant patients; the number of blood donors decreases drastically with population confinement, 2) drug manufacturing and available medicines are compromised, 3) the allogenic stem cell transplant with donors on international files becomes very difficult to access because of the international borders shut down, 4) Management of unstable patients requires an intensive care unit with mechanical ventilation, however, depending on the pandemic level and the healthcare system in each country, hospital beds might be lacking.

Therefore, the management of patients transplanted during a pandemic is very complex. To overcome this crisis, some recommendations and emergency measures have been developed by scientific societies like the European Society for Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation [8,9]. Their guidelines are established according to the coronavirus high contagion rate in Europe. The most important messages are the postponement of any low-risk non-urgent transplant, and freezing rich grafts if mobilization is already scheduled. Currently, virus detection has become mandatory before any transplant process, among donors as well as recipients for allogenic stem cell transplant using throat-swab specimens for PCR test. During the transplant period, detection must be carried out before any symptom like fever, cough or chest imaging abnormalities. Prevention procedures remain a very useful mean to avoid infection, and the WHO recommendations must be diligently followed by healthcare staff, patients and donors. It is vital to be very careful with hygiene routines, including hand washing, use of protective mask, alcohol-containing hand sanitizers, and limited visits. In post-transplant follow-up period, it is recommended to prioritize telemedicine consultations if possible. In Morocco, the situation is less critical than in Europe, with a record of 1184 confirmed cases with 90 deaths [10]. The government has adopted containment measures very early but the contagion is still gaining ground, and to ensure the safety of our transplanted patients, our hematology centers have adopted actions based on the European recommendations. In the Table 1, we summarize the main practical steps that can be taken to reduce the risk to our vulnerable patients during bone marrow transplant [8].

 

 

Conclusion    Down

The situation is critical all over the world and restrictive measures will affect bone marrow transplantation as the COVID-19 is spreading. It is necessary to carefully follow all international recommendations; Morocco has therefore taken emergency measures to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on transplant activity.

 

 

Competing interests Up    Down

All authors declare no competing interests.

 

 

Authors' contributions Up    Down

Kamal Doghmi collected the data. Maryame Ahnach wrote the letter. All the authors have read and agreed to the final manuscript.

 

 

Acknowledgments Up    Down

We thank Dr, Fadila Guessous from the School of Medicine, Mohammed VI University of Health Sciences, Casablanca, Morocco for her help reviewing this letter.

 

 

Tables Up    Down

Table 1: practical recommendations for bone marrow transplant during COVID-19 pandemic

 

 

References Up    Down

  1. Phelan AL, Katz R, Gostin LO. The novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan China: challenges for global health governance. JAMA. 2020;323(8):709-710. PubMed | Google Scholar

  2. World health Organization. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Situation report-76. 2020. Accessed 5 April 2020.

  3. Liang W, Guan W, Chen R, Wang W, Li J, Xu K et al. Cancer patients in SARS-CoV-2 infection: a nationwide analysis in China. Lancet Oncol. 2020;21(3):335-337. PubMed | Google Scholar

  4. Wingard JR, Hsu J, Hiemenz JW. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: an overview of infection risks and epidemiology. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2011;25(1):101-116. PubMed | Google Scholar

  5. Kotloff RM, Ahya VN, Crawford SW. Pulmonary complications of solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004;170(1):22-48. PubMed | Google Scholar

  6. Allareddy V, Roy A, Rampa S, Lee MK, Nalliah RP, Allareddy V et al. Outcomes of stem cell transplant patients with acute respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation in the United States. Bone Marrow Transplantation. 2014;49(10):1278-1286. PubMed | Google Scholar

  7. Zhou F, Ting Y, Ronghui Du, Fan G, Liu Y, Liu Z. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult in patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan China: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1054-1062. PubMed | Google Scholar

  8. Willan J, King AJ, Hayes S, Collins GP, Peniket A. Care of hematology patients in a COVID-19 epidemic. Bjh. 2020;189(2):241-243. PubMed | Google Scholar

  9. EBMT. Coronavirus disease COVID-19: EBMT recommendations update march 2020. Accessed 23 march 2020.

  10. Ministry of Health of Morocco. Coronavirus disease COVID-19: Situation report. 2020. Accessed 7 April 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to the editors

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on bone marrow transplantation in Morocco

Letter to the editors

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on bone marrow transplantation in Morocco

Letter to the editors

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on bone marrow transplantation in Morocco