Authored by Dr. Brian Koffman
While we encourage all those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL / SLL) to receive the CDC’s recommended SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations and boosters, we must acknowledge that protection has been less predictable and robust in CLL due to an impaired immune response. See Dr. Lee Greenberger on Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections in Patients with Blood Cancers. This has led to higher rates of severe illness and death in our community from COVID-19.
City of Hope in Duarte, CA, has recently opened a clinical trial, led by Dr. Alexey Danilov, of a new type of COVID-19 vaccine to help remedy this. While it is a live attenuated (weakened) vaccine, the virus does not appear to replicate even in the most immunocompromised patients and is safe so far. Moreover, there is good reason to believe it will offer better protection, as explained in my interview with Dr. Diamond last year, who led the development of this novel vaccine. The new trial is the next step to confirm safety and efficacy for broader use.
Here is a link to the actual trial: SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (COH04S1) Versus EUA SARS-COV-2 Vaccine for the Treatment of COVID-19 in Patients With Blood Cancer.
We encourage you to discuss with your healthcare team whether this trial might be appropriate for you.
Stay strong. We are all in this together.
Brian Koffman MDCM (retired) MS Ed (he, him, his)
Co-founder, Executive VP, and Chief Medical Officer
CLL Society, Inc.