COVID-19 FAQ #11: Are MGUS and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) patients considered to be at higher risk for severe consequences from a COVID-19 infection?

MGUS, Smoldering Multiple Myeloma, and COVID-19

Continuing his COVID-19 FAQ series, Dr. Brian G.M. Durie addresses whether MGUS and smoldering multiple myeloma patients are at a higher risk of infection and severe consequences from the COVID-19 virus. 

While MGUS and SMM may be at an increased risk from a COVID-19 infection, they are still not considered “high-risk.” Yet, remain cautious and continue to stay at home as much as possible.     

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This “Ask Dr. Durie” is an important question coming from patients who have either MGUS, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or smoldering myeloma. And, the question for many of them, is “Are they at high risk from COVID-19 infection?”   
And, the answer to that is that they are perhaps at some slight increased risk, but it does not appear that they are at a high risk either for infection or serious consequences should infection occur. And, I say that because as of now there have been really, very limited number of cases with indication either of infection, and actually I’m not sure of any where there has been a serious consequence from such infection. So, I think that there is some increased risk, but despite the fact that patients with MGUS and smoldering myeloma do have some reduction in the immune resistance. The level of this does not seem to be such that they are the high risk for problems.    
But it is important to be aware that everyone including patients with MGUS and smoldering myeloma may have other co-factors which are risk factors. It’s important to be aware of things like high blood pressure, sugar diabetes, being a little bit overweight, having chronic lung or kidney problems. These are important risk factors for getting the infection and also having more serious consequences. And so, as I say, anyone in any particular group can have one of those things and if that is the case, this is probably the most important to be a little bit more alert.    
And so, the BOTTOM LINE is, as for everyone right now, continue to be cautious in your increased activities as reopening is occurring. And, my strong recommendation across the board is to continue to stay home and stay protected as much as possible.

Image of Dr. Brian G.M. DurieDr. Brian G.M. Durie 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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