How to deal with the coronavirus pandemic if you have hemophilia?
These are the recommendations of the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH).
- For persons with hemophilia and currently being treated with factor VIII, or other replacement therapy, there is no reason to change the recommended treatment regimen because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, nor to fear a shortage of treatment supplies at present. If treatment is provided at your home, it is recommended that you do not order more than you reasonably need for replacement therapy. However, the WFH guidelines recommend keeping a few extra doses in stock for home use. In addition, for patients treated with factor VIII or other plasma-derived coagulation factors, the Federation assures that the viral inactivation and elimination procedures employed are sufficient to destroy viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, a change in treatment is not recommended. Blood and plasma donation continues to be a safe process, and the need for plasma donations is growing.
- You should discuss follow-up and monitoring arrangements with your referral center and hematologist. Remote follow-up visits are strongly encouraged unless it is necessary to administer an investigational product and face-to-face monitoring is essential to prevent particular side effects.
- As regards specific measures to reduce exposure to SARS-CoV-2, all measures taken by the general population should be applied even more actively by people with hemophilia, especially those with comorbidities (cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, HIV, old age) or taking steroids or other potent immunosuppressants. To this end, it is important to avoid close contact with other people, including low-risk individuals and children. That’s why it is also recommended that visits to hospitals or offices be kept to a minimum unless necessary. It is important to remember that all specific hygiene measures, such as regularly washing your hands with soap, not touching your face, covering your mouth when you sneeze, and keeping a distance of at least 2 meters from other people are essential to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
The WFH has also issued specific measures for healthcare providers when hospitalizing patients with bleeding disorders with COVID-19 infection and the prophylactic therapy to be followed.