Cedric Hermans, Alain Weill and Glenn F Pierce have published an article on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the hemophilia community (Haemophilia 2020 Apr 4. [Epub ahead of print]). The editorial focuses on the COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2) pandemic as a new global challenge for the hemophilia community. At present, they report, it is impossible to determine how many hemophiliacs will be infected by the virus and whether the coagulation defect and the type of therapy will modify the natural course of the infection.
It is inevitable that the pandemic will condition the management of hemophiliacs and their community. Different solutions will be sought from the current ones so as not to be caught unprepared to face long-term difficulties. Air companies paralysis may slow down or impede the transport of replacement products and access to treatment for an indefinite period of time.
A stop in the production of recombinant concentrates seems unlikely. Nevertheless, a shortage of products may occur if a large number of operators get sick with the COVID-19 infection. Similarly, the contamination of synthetic products by COVID-19 through workers seems quite unlikely. Different is what could happen for the production of plasma-derived concentrates due to both the number of blood or plasma donors infected by COVID-19 and the fear of donating blood, as already happened with the HIV global epidemic in the 1980s.
There is no risk that the plasma is contaminated by COVID-19, a lipid-enveloped virus, since viral sterilization procedures are able to inactivate it. The emergency will induce hemophilia treatment centers to adopt new means of distance communication and of patients’ control, particularly for persons who need careful and periodic follow-up.
Many patients may suffer from a deep economic and social crisis, which will negatively weigh on being haemophilic. In addition, the same crisis may affect hemophilia treatment centers with a precarious financial condition.
To aggravate the situation there could be objective difficulties in conducting clinical trials, so that some new treatmentes may be delayed, as well as in physical participation to conferences or updating courses.
the current emergency requires attention and collaboration, as well as using innovative resources. The haemophiliac community experienced serious crises in the past. The latter is particularly heavy because it came unexpectedly, however it is necessary to fight learning new lessons from itself.