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COVID-19 and Multiple Sclerosis: Get the Facts

March 28, 2024

A study recently reported at a medical meeting* suggested that people with MS who get COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized than people in the general population and are also more likely to die from COVID. 

  • The study looked at medical records in the United Kingdom to see who was hospitalized for a COVID-19 infection during the Omicron wave in 2022.  

  • The findings in the study are difficult to interpret because they grouped all people with MS together regardless of: 

    • what disease modifying therapy (DMT) they were on,  
    • when they received COVID-19 vaccines,  

    • their level of disability, or  

    • any history of prior infections.  

  • Importantly, this study has not yet been “peer reviewed.” Peer review means that the paper is analyzed by fellow scientists, who evaluate the methods used and identify any potential flaws in logic or methodology that might shed doubt on the findings. 


  • Simply having MS does not increase a person’s likelihood of developing COVID-19 or increase the risk for worse outcomes from COVID-19.  

  • Certain factors, like older age, higher level of physical disability and taking certain disease modifying therapies increase the risk for worse outcomes from COVID-19. 

  • People who use B cell depletion therapies (such as Ocrevus, Kesimpta, Briumvi and Rituxan and rituximab biosimilars) are more vulnerable to certain infections, including COVID-19. 

  • People who do not have an adequate antibody response to the vaccine may be more at risk for worse outcomes from COVID-19. 

  • Studies of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine responses in people living with MS have shown a reduced or absent antibody response among those who use the following disease- modifying therapies (DMTs): 

    • sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulators (Gilenya, Mayzent, Zeposia, Ponvory), 
    • alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) treatment within the past 24 months, and 

    • anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies (Ocrevus, Kesimpta, Briumvi, Rituxan and biosimilars).  

*This study was reported at the 2024 European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.  

Learn more: 

Read these sources for the FACTS listed above: 

Additional Resources: 

More about COVID-19 and MS from the National MS Society 

Learn about taking MS therapies during COVID-19 

Guidance on COVID-19 vaccines for people with MS 

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society, founded in 1946, is the global leader of a growing movement dedicated to creating a world free of MS. The Society funds cutting-edge research for a cure, drives change through advocacy and provides programs and services to help people affected by MS live their best lives. Connect to learn more and get involved:, Facebook, X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or 1-800-344-4867.


© 2024 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.