|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 329
Authors' reply to Agasty et al.
Nitin Bansal1, K Abdul Ghafur2
1 Division of Infectious Diseases, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, New Delhi, India
2 Division of Infectious Diseases, Apollo Cancer Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||11-May-2020|
|Date of Decision||11-May-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||20-May-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||19-Jun-2020|
K Abdul Ghafur
Apollo Cancer Institute, 320, Anna Salai, Chennai - 600 035, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Bansal N, Ghafur K A. Authors' reply to Agasty et al. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:329
We are grateful to Agasty et al. for showing interest in our commentary, and we highly appreciate the points raised by them., The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is an evolving issue, and with each day, we learn new things about the disease and change the management accordingly. Cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy pose a unique challenge with regard to infection control because of their cyclical nature. Moreover, most centers in India are not equipped with dedicated single rooms for these services and depend on daycare wards which are shared between many patients for their cyclical oncology needs. It would be ideal if we knew the COVID-19 status of a patient who enters the daycare facility, both from the infection control and clinical perspective; however, unfortunately, the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests that are currently used have the disadvantages of long turnaround time (24–48 h) and poor sensitivity. The performance of serological tests is yet to be evaluated in the immunocompromised hosts. Further, patients with cancer may not manifest the typical clinical features of COVID-19, and in a few subsets of patients (like patients with lung cancer), it may be very difficult to delineate respiratory symptoms.
Considering the above limitations of the laboratory and clinical methods to differentiate patients with cancer with and without COVID-19, we suggest combining both the methods – strict clinical surveillance and testing at the lowest threshold. We would also like to emphasize that as no method is perfect, it is better to adopt good infection control practices in the day care settings, such as good hand hygiene, adequate bed spacing, adequate ventilation, regular disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, universal masking, and appropriate personal protective equipment for all health-care workers.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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