However, MS patients who are older, obese, or have severe neurological impairments have a greater risk of developing a severe form of the disease.
Findings were reported in the study, “Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes in Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Multiple Sclerosis,” published in the journal JAMA Neurology.
MS patients are a population of particular interest during the pandemic because most of them are actively taking medications that suppress the activity of the immune system, which may increase their chances of being infected by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
In its COVID-19 recommendations released in March, the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation stated that “some MS medications might increase the likelihood of developing complications from a COVID-19 infection but this risk needs to be balanced with the risks of stopping treatment.”
However, it is still unclear at this point if the use of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) — medications that reduce the activity of the immune system to keep inflammation in check — increases the risk MS patients have of being hospitalized with a severe form of COVID-19.
To address this question and identify risk factors that could be associated with severe forms of COVID-19 in MS patients, a group of French investigators carried out a registry-based study that included data from 347 MS patients (mean age of 44.6 years) who received a confirmed or highly likely diagnosis of COVID-19 between March 1 and May 21.
Patient data was part of the Covisep registry, a multicenter registry that contains clinical information gathered from patients followed at MS expert centers and general hospitals, with support from neurologists and members of the Société Francophone de la Sclérose en Plaques in France.
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