Catching COVID-19 can be scary for most people since it’s such an unpredictable virus at this point in time.
However, it is even more concerning for those suffering from serious illnesses already as it has been proven to affect individuals with weakened immune systems the most.
That being said, it would make perfect sense if someone with cancer would be at a high risk of needing hospitalization or even dying upon catching the viral infection.
But, it turns out that for a 61 year old man, getting infected with COVID-19 was a lifesaving event!
The man had been diagnosed with terminal stage III Lymphoma so it is safe to say that he was not doing well at all before his COVID diagnosis.
A new case study that was published in the British Journal of Haematology suggests the man in question had tumors all over his body before catching COVID.
He needed hospitalization and he remained there for no less than 11 days but instead of making his health worse, it appears that it was a stroke of good luck!
Upon healing from the virus, he was allowed to go home and four months later, his tumors were gone as well!
According to Dr. Jonathan Friedberg from the University of Rochester Medical Center, Lymphoma has been known to sometimes clear on its own but, this might be a uniquely different situation!
More precisely, what this research’s authors seem to suggest is that certain immune system responses behind how the COVID pathogen mutates once in the body show that it might also be able to help wipe out other unwelcome cells.
Dr. Friedberg told Forbes that “We cannot be 100 per cent sure. For many types of Lymphoma, there have been well described spontaneous regressions and remissions.”
He went on to mention that for one type of Lymphoma, it is possible for the cancer to go away all on its own in about 25 per cent of the cases.
“But in this case, the Lymphoma was just more aggressive and such spontaneous regressions and remissions are more rare. It’s pretty surprising in this case and [it is] certainly intriguing,” the expert went on to say about the 61 year old’s patient’s incredible recovery.
It is important to note that this is not exactly unique as some rare cases of incurable cancers have indeed disappeared before, upon the patients being infected with a variety of viral infections.
In the report, a process by which the human body’s unique immune response to COVID could have farther reaching effects all throughout the body, was described.
This was also dubbed as a “storm” of cytokines, which are proteins usually responsible for directing one’s T-cell army and antibodies which could be the perfect push needed for them to finally defeat cancer.
Friedberg explained that “This massive cytokine response [to COVID] can turn on other non specific immunity, leading to fever and many of the unpleasant symptoms usually associated with being sick. This stress causes really high levels of cytokines, which may have a direct effect on cancers.”
He also noted that Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system which is why it is normally treated by employing immunotherapy and he also suggested that this COVID-19 finding might be able to inspire new research into even more efficient methods of treating cancer.
“We are at the beginning of understanding just how the immune response to the viruses can have anti-cancer properties.”
Regardless of this incredible story however, there is no doubt that the vast majority of cancer patients should fear and try their best to avoid catching COVID-19.
After all, infections with the virus among patients have been shown to take a huge toll on their health – and not just because they are immunocompromised!
Another reason why infection with COVID needs to be avoided at all costs is that a large number of positive cases can put a lot of pressure on the health care system to the point that at the highs of the pandemic, some cancer patients in need of treatment had no choice but be turned away from overrun hospitals.