New Database to Compile COVID-19 Data About People with MS and Related Diseases

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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ACTRIMS 2021 Forum

The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society have created a new database to track COVID-19 infections in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and related diseases.

The database, called COViMS (COVID-19 Infections in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Diseases), will record information on people in North America with MS and other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system — namely neuromyelitis optica and MOG antibody disease — and who develop COVID-19. There has hitherto been no such database for this purpose.

The intent is to clarify how COVID-19 affects the health and well-being of people with MS. In particular, it is hoped that information gleaned from the database will shed light on how patient factors — age, comorbidities, treatments, etc. — affect infection outcomes. Such data could help guide treatment decisions for people with MS and COVID-19. The data also might have useful applications for similar viral infections in the future.

“COViMS will provide valuable insight on how COVID-19 affects people with MS including if certain disease modifying treatments incur special risks,” June Halper, CEO of the CMSC, said in a press release.

“People with MS and their healthcare providers need evidence based guidance to provide optimal MS care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the COViMS database will help answer the many pressing questions,” said Bruce Bebo, executive vice president of research for the National MS Society.

Healthcare providers caring for people with MS who have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 can fill out a Case Report Form (CRF) on the COViMS website. The form collects demographic data (age, gender, race, smoking history), data related to MS (symptoms, treatments, comorbidities), and data specific to COVID-19 (diagnostic details, laboratory test results, symptoms, treatments).

Because of the level of clinical detail required, CRFs are meant to be filled out only by healthcare providers, not by patients. The COViMS website suggests that patients with MS who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should encourage their healthcare providers to fill out a CRF on their behalf.

Beyond CRFs, the COViMS website also provides frequently asked questions regarding the project, and offers resources for patients. Once the project is underway, the website will list real-time data, updated at least weekly.