MS News Notes: COVID-19, Gut Bacteria, Remyelination, Stem Cells

Columnist Ed Tobias comments on the week's top MS news

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by Ed Tobias |

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Welcome to “MS News Notes,” where I comment on multiple sclerosis (MS) news stories that caught my eye last week. Here’s a look at what’s been happening:

Could COVID-19 trigger MS?

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been scattered reports of people who’ve developed neurological disorders, including MS, shortly after being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. There’s no firm link between MS and COVID-19, but in “COVID-19 Could Trigger MS Via ‘Molecular Mimicry,’ Study Shows,” Marisa Wexler reports on research that suggests a way that a virus like SARS-CoV-2 might set off an illness like MS.

If you find this story interesting, like I did, make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below or at our MS News Today Forums.

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A gut feeling

What’s different between the guts of people with MS and those of healthy people? The composition of more than 60 types of bacteria and some viruses, that’s what!

It’s well known that the bacteria and viruses living in our gut affect health, but their precise role as related to MS is still unclear. The MS News Today article “Differences in Bacteria, Viruses in MS Patients’ Guts Seen in Study” reports on research trying to identify what’s different about our MS guts — and why it matters.

Myelin repair

Remyelination is considered to be the holy grail of multiple sclerosis treatments. Fix the damaged myelin coating of our nerves, and the nerves should regain the ability to handle the impulses disrupted by our MS. In theory, doing that should relieve or improve MS symptoms.

As the story “Pheno, UCB Team Up to Bring New Remyelination Therapies to Trial” reports, two research teams are joining forces to try to develop a medication that will accomplish that.

Neural stem cells

Neural stem/precursor cells, or NPCs, are specialized stem cells that can mature into nerve cells and improve the health of nearby cells. Some early MS model studies have shown that transplanting NPCs into the brain can encourage functional improvement.

As reported in “Neural Stem Cell Therapy for MS Tolerated Well in Small Phase 1 Study,” the first trial of NPCs on people with MS showed some promising results.

Have you read any interesting MS-related news this week? Please share in the comments below. 

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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


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