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Expert Point of View: Laura C. Michaelis, MD


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The moderator of the press briefing on COVID-19 in patients with blood disorders, held during the 2021 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, was Laura C. Michaelis, MD, a clinician and clinical researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Dr. Michaelis commented that these studies offer insight into how, 2 years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the hematology community continues to support individuals with blood disorders, who are at the highest risk for COVID-19 illness and among the least likely to respond to COVID-19 vaccines.

Laura C. Michaelis, MD

Laura C. Michaelis, MD

“Hematologists have continued to play an important role in contributing to the emerging science of the pandemic, including through our expertise in clotting and vascular disorders, and ASH has remained committed to sharing the latest resources to assist hematologists on the front line of the pandemic,” said Dr. Michaelis.

Patient Vulnerability

According to Dr. Michaelis, the data presented by Dr. Hicks and colleagues underscore just how vulnerable patients with blood cancers are to serious and even life-threatening COVID-19. “Dr. Hicks and her team report a strikingly higher COVID-19 mortality rate among patients with blood cancers than what has been seen in the general population,” said Dr. Michaelis. “Importantly, the findings also identified independent risk factors associated with a heightened chance of death from COVID-19.”

The data presented by Dr. Pinkel highlighted the importance of the patient’s underlying prognosis as well as the importance of intensive care unit (ICU) care in determining outcomes, Dr. Michaelis added. “Patients’ pre–COVID-19 prognosis for the underlying condition and deferral of ICU care were the most significant factors in the worst outcomes,” she said. “These results provide preliminary evidence for the use of aggressive supportive treatment of COVID-19 in this patient population.” 

DISCLOSURE: Dr. Michaelis reported no relevant conflicts of interest.


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