COVID-19 FAQ #2: What do myeloma patients need to know about COVID-19?

The second episode of his ten episode COVID-19 FAQ series, Dr. Brian G.M. Durie addresses what exactly myeloma patients need to know about the novel coronavirus. 

COVID-19 is highly infectious. Myeloma patients should take extra precautions to avoid contracting this virus.

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Videos in the COVID-19 Series


This “Ask Dr. Durie” is about the COVID-19 infection. This is frequently asked question number two. And, this question relates to, “what does a myeloma patient need to know about COVID-19 infection?”   
Well, it is a novel coronavirus which emerged out of China, out of the city of Wuhan in December of 2019, hence the name D-19. This refers to December 19. 
It is a virus which is highly infectious, it’s felt that it may be even four or five times more infectious than the regular influenza virus. It is a type of virus that is spread by someone who is infected coughing or sneezing into the air. These droplets which contain the virus can be suspended in the air for a period of time, depending upon the conditions of the air. And, this can be for periods of thirty minutes, even for a few hours depending upon the circumstances.   
These droplets can also land on surfaces, and on the surfaces, the virus can survive and persist for a number of hours, even as long as several days. On some surfaces, such as metal and plastic, the survival can be longer into one, two, three days. For other surfaces like cardboard, much shorter survival.  
And so, this is a virus that it is important to avoid. It is important to be aware that increasingly we understand that individuals who are not showing symptoms can actually pass on the virus. 

In a study out of Iceland, screening the population, they noted that approximately half of the individuals tested positive had no symptoms. And so, if there is any contact with other individuals, just be aware that you should consider that that individual could possibly have infection, and use physical distancing, and be cautious related to use of masks if they are available, I recommend using masks.  

And so, the BOTTOM LINE in terms of knowing about this virus is that it is one that is highly infectious, it is one that should be avoided  if at all possible, and one for which we are facing many challenges, and it does have a lot of implications for the day-to-day management of myeloma.  

Image of Dr. Brian G.M. DurieDr. Brian G.M. Durie founded and now serves as Chairman of the International Myeloma Foundation and serves on its Scientific Advisory Board. Additionally, he is Chairman of the IMF's International Myeloma Working Group, a consortium of nearly 200 myeloma experts from around the world. Dr. Durie also leads the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative®.


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