MSAA Hosting 8th Webinar on COVID-19 and MS

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is hosting a webinar in which experts will discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on multiple sclerosis (MS).

The webinar, “What You Need to Know About COVID-19 and MS: Program 8,” will take place at 8 p.m. EST on Jan. 25. It is the eighth installment of the MSAA’s ongoing webinar series about COVID-19 in people with MS.

This program will feature Barry Hendin, MD, the chief medical officer at the MSAA, alongside Carrie Hersh, DO, chair of the MSAA’s healthcare advisory council.

The doctors will present the latest findings on COVID-19, and also discuss current recommendations for MS care and overall health management. The webinar will feature an expanded question-and-answer session to address areas of concern. Additional information, as well as registration for the webinar, is available here.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which was first characterized in late 2019. Because COVID-19 is such a new disease, researchers and clinicians are still working to understand how it affects people, and what risks it poses to individuals with other conditions, like MS.

MS is caused by the body’s immune system erroneously launching an inflammatory attack against the nervous system. Early on in the pandemic, there were numerous theoretical concerns that people with MS may be at higher risk from COVID-19. For example, many people with MS are treated with medications that suppress the activity of the immune system, which could increase susceptibility to infection, since the immune system normally helps to repel viral invaders. Increased inflammation also has been linked with worse outcomes from COVID-19, which raised concerns because MS is an inflammatory disease.

As more and more research is conducted and data is collected over time, scientists and clinicians are gaining a better understanding of the risks of COVID-19 for people with MS. For instance, recent research has suggested that, when safety measures like isolation are in place, neither treatments nor disability increase the risk that people with MS will become infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Related research has shed increased light on whether disease-modifying therapies alter the risk of severe disease, for those who do become infected.

The webinar series has already covered topics such as how to keep socially distant without becoming socially isolated, management of MS symptoms when diagnosed with COVID-19, cytokine storms and vaccine development, how to maintain physical and emotional wellness, the effects of COVID-19 on people of color, the impact of MS medications, and risk factors for contracting the virus, among many others.

At the eighth webinar, Hendin and Hersh will share up-to-the minute  information about MS and COVID-19.

The webinar series is made possible by MSAA’s funding partners: Bristol Myers Squibb, EMD Serono, Genentech, Novartis, and Sanofi Genzyme.

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