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Kidney Disease and COVID-19

The ubiquitous impact and disruption of COVID-19 has been an omnipresent and near universal fact of life for the past year. While we have shared in a generational narrative globally, at a human level we each have a personal story relating to the virus. These experiences range from boredom, to feelings of isolation, to the tremendous loss of a loved one. However, for our most vulnerable populations the pandemic has truly been a looming threat, and a matter of survival.


This has been the reality for patients on dialysis, people living with chronic kidney disease (CKD), and transplant recipients, which can be attributed to a number of factors, including the following: kidney disease is commonly caused or accompanied by comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, or coronary disease; all risk factors for COVID-19. Kidney disease patients may have compromised immune systems while transplant recipients must take immunosuppressant medications. Those patients on dialysis who cannot access home treatment must attend treatments at dialysis centres, exposing themselves to potential risk at each point of contact before, during, and after treatment. Compounding these and more medical factors converging to put kidney disease patients at risk, there are the socioeconomic disparities that disproportionately and negatively impact outcomes for both kidney disease and COVID-19 patients. Such is the case for racial and ethnic minorities, and people with lower incomes.


Initial reports in early 2020 did not include chronic kidney disease as a severe risk factor for COVID-19. As the pandemic has descended on health care facilities research into subsequent data in the interim has drawn dire conclusions. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) found that among a group of dialysis patients in Ontario between March and August 2020, 62.6% of those infected required hospitalization, and 28.3% of cases were fatal. Not only does this fatality rate outpace the general population by nearly four times, but it is even higher than the rates of mortality for those over 80 years of age. The European Renal Association COVID-19 Database (ERACODA) working group has published a call to action in the Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation (NDT) medical journal stating that chronic kidney disease is the most prevalent risk factor for severe COVID-19, and is associated with a high rate of mortality. The group calls for more targeted COVID-19 research and testing into CKD, higher levels of care upon diagnosis, and the inclusion of CKD patients in vaccine and drug trials.


As a Canadian company in the hemodialysis industry, NephroCan has committed itself to putting patients first and improving their quality of life. As such we feel compelled to add our support behind calls for action by the nephrology community to support patient outcomes under the threat of COVID-19. Furthermore, in solidarity with the Canadian Society of Nephrology (CSN) and The Kidney Foundation of Canada we call upon health authorities to prioritize and grant access to vaccinations for patients living with chronic kidney disease.



At NephroCan we are committed to utilizing the latest science in developing our products and serving the needs of our patients. We have leading experts in dialysis and kidney health as our partners in providing the best possible nephrology treatment and care. In the past year our global nephrology community has had to overcome many unique challenges and threats that the COVID-19 pandemic poses, whilst having the regular opportunities to exchange our scientific knowledge and ideas disrupted.


The World Congress of Nephrology 2021 (WCN’21) is aiming to overcome this disruption virtually with a combination of live and recorded programming, and an innovative and interactive networking platform. First, a pre-congress program will be available on-demand April 12 to April 15, offering a range of modular courses before the formal Congress Opening and plenary lecture on April 16. The congress program will offer presentations, livestream moderation, Q&A sessions, and more activities between 8:00am and 14:00pm EDT, from April 16 to April 19. Virtual WCN’21 will also offer daily highlight sessions featuring a special selection of presentations focused on each of the three congress themes: acute kidney injury (AKI), Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), and End Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD). After the congress has concluded the virtual on-demand platform will be available for participants to access any time until May 31.


Notable events during the congress include the Global Kidney Policy Forum and the ISN Community Film Event.


The topic for the 2021 Global Kidney Policy Forum is “Focus On North America and The Caribbean”. The forum will highlight key kidney health challenges in the region, including the disparities and challenges faced by specific populations in accessing kidney care in the COVID-19 era. With this policy forum, the third in an ongoing series, the ISN intends to provoke action in decision makers and stakeholders by identifying opportunities to deliver solutions within their own regions.


The ISN Community Film Event showcases short film submissions featuring patient experiences that educate on topics related to nephrology. This year, it is being run in collaboration with the 2021 World Kidney Day theme: “Living Well With Kidney Disease”. The ISN describes the event as “a unique opportunity to raise awareness and improve others’ understanding of the reality of living with kidney disease”.


As a Canadian company and WCN’21 supporter, NephroCan is proud to highlight that WCN’21 is hosted by the Canadian Society of Nephrology (CSN) and la Société Québécoise de Néphrologie (SQN). This will be the first WCN held since the pandemic began, as last March’s WCN 2020 in Abu Dhabi was unable to be rescheduled or held virtually. No doubt these opportunities to network with our colleagues and make new connections in our field have gained new meaning since the last World Congress of Nephrology. NephroCan encourages all our partners in nephrology to seize this opportunity to reconnect and engage with our global community.


COVID-19 Update

NephroCan is endlessly grateful for the difficult, tireless work of frontline healthcare workers as they stand united with essential medical providers across the globe, protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have made a commitment to continue maintaining operations in support of our patients, while implementing strict safety measures for our working staff. Recommendations by the World Health Organization and local authorities are closely monitored and updated as needed. For employees who have the ability to work from home, we have encouraged them to do so and provided relevant resources and support.

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Stay safe and stay well,

NephroCan Family.