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Published Results from COViMS Registry Highlight Risk Factors for Poor Outcomes from COVID-19 in People with MS

March 19, 2021

Healthcare providers have been reporting on outcomes for people with MS who developed COVID-19 via the ongoing North American MS COVID-19 Clinical Database, a joint effort of the National MS Society, the Consortium of MS Centers, and the MS Society of Canada. Outcomes experienced by 1,626 people in the registry between April and December 2020 have just been published:
  • Factors leading to a more severe course of COVID-19 in this registry include: decreased mobility, being older, being Black, being male, or having comorbidities (in particular, coexisting cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure).
  • Overall, 54 people (3.5% of those in the registry) died from COVID-19, and the risk of death increased with age and male sex. The mortality rate was 4.2% for Black people with MS, 3.5% for White people, and 1.1% for Hispanic/Latinx. In all, 320 people (19.7%) required hospitalization.
  • Almost half of those reported in the registry had one or more comorbidity, a coexisting condition, most often high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes. The risk of hospitalization or death increased significantly in those with heart disease, high blood pressure, or obesity. These conditions may be treatable - learn more
  • Recent treatment (within 2 months of COVID-19 infection) with corticosteroids (commonly used to treat MS relapses) was associated with worse outcomes from COVID-19, and the use of rituximab was associated with increased hospitalization compared to those not taking any disease-modifying therapy, but no association with other measures of poor outcomes was observed. Read guidelines about MS treatments during the pandemic
  • The COViMS registry is an ongoing effort, and further results will help to capture the impact of COVID-19 on people with MS and improve monitoring, treatment, and health outcomes.
Learn what we know about COVID-19 and MS, including vaccine guidance

Outcomes and Risk Factors Associated with SARS-COV-2 Infection in a North American Registry of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis,” by Amber Salter, PhD, Robert J. Fox, MD, Scott D. Newsome, DO, June Halper, MSCN, David K. B. Li, MD, Pamela Kanellis, PhD, Kathleen Costello, MSCN, Bruce Bebo, PhD, Kottil Rammohan, MD, Gary R. Cutter, PhD, and Anne H. Cross, MD, was published online March 19, 2021 in JAMA Neurology.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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