Have You Tested Positive for Coronavirus with MS?
What happens if you have MS and you’ve tested positive for COVID-19? How will the disease affect your disease-modifying therapies and your MS?
Dr. Barry Singer, (@drbarrysinger), a neurologist who directs The MS Center for Innovations in Care in St. Louis, has posed that question to his Twitter followers. Singer learned that some people with MS have been sickened by COVID-19, and the experiences they’re reporting from around the world seem encouraging. Here’s some of what they are saying on Twitter:
‘Flu-like symptoms but doing well’
Giovanna Borriello (@GiovannaBorri19): “In Rome we have one male patient positive to Coronavirus. Treated with Natalizumab (14 infusions done), actually just fever, under observation but not hospitalized. One positive female on DMF hospitalized due to fever and dyspnoea, good recovery in few days.”
AnnekeVdWalt (@anneke_vdw): “Case of person with COVID19 on ocrelizumab in Australia reported today. Mild infection and doing well.”
Elisabeth G. Celius (@CeliusElisabeth): “One patient with infection shortly after w1 in year 2 of Cladribine. Similar symptoms as others otherwise healthy so far.”
NeuroImmunology Club (@NeuroImmunology): “Have one patient with ocrelizumab infected. Doing fine. Flu-like symptoms but doing well.”
Susana Sainz de la Maza (@S_SainzdelaMaza): “I have one 40yo women recently diagnosed with RRMS (had not yet received DMT). High fever, dry cough and shortness of breath due to bilateral neumonia. Grade 4 lymphopenia and elevated C-reactive protein in the blood. Treatment with Kaletra and Dolquine has been initiated.”
Pablo Nieto (@IlNeuroDoktorMS): “I have one. Bilateral neumonia. 68 yo without treatment since 2 years (previously with Rebif). Discharged well last week after 2 weeks of hospitalization. No need ICU.”
AnnekeVdWalt (@anneke_vdw) “Case of COVID-19 in patient on Gilenya. Presented cough, fever 38.3. Spontaneously improved after 3 days and today (4th) day almost back to normal. Last lymphocyte count 0.5. We can’t make any conclusions for from a few cases but grateful for some good news.”
This seems to be good news, especially regarding the patients being treated with Tysabri (natalizumab) and Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), both of which affect the immune system. There have been concerns that people being treated with these and other disease-modifying therapies might be extra-susceptible to infection. These informal responses indicate this might not be the case.
You might be able to help
Singer would like to hear from more people with MS who have tested positive for the coronavirus, or from their neurologists, via Twitter using the hashtag #MSCOVID19. He says it’s “important that we share global experience to give advice and make key treatment decisions.”
Singer is right, and I encourage you to participate. Knowledge is power. Currently, some of us have a lot of knowledge that can provide powerful help to those making treatment decisions.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.