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Suspected COVID-19 and MS

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Information about people living with multiple sclerosis who have also been diagnosed with COVID-19 is still limited. However, the National MS Society is sharing what we know, what we don’t know and what we are striving to learn so that we get to the answers people with MS need as quickly as possible.

Effects of COVID-19 on People Living with MS

There is still much to learn about people living with MS who have also been diagnosed COVID-19. The disease course and mortality rate are still being studied. COViMS (COVID-19 Infections in MS & Related Diseases) is a national registry designed to capture information on outcomes of people with MS who have developed COVID-19. Results from the COViMS registry thus far have shown decreased mobility, being older, being Black, being male, or having comorbidities (in particular, coexisting cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure) were risk factors for poorer COVID-19 outcomes in people with MS.

COVID-19 Registries for People Living with MS

Researchers across the globe are working to learn more about COVID-19 infections and COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible. Registries have been launched in the United States to help people with MS and their providers share insights. Learn more about these registries. 

COVID-19 and Relapses

It is known that infections in general may provoke new symptoms or new MRI activity. Sometimes a fever can provoke a temporary worsening of old symptoms. As COVID-19 is an infection, it is possible that an MS relapse could occur. A small study showed no increased risk of MS relapse after COVID-19 but larger studies are needed to confirm this. If you are concerned about your symptoms, please contact your MS provider.

COVID-19 Vaccine for People Living with MS

There are COVID-19 vaccines that have received emergency use authorization (EAU) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is important for all people, including those living with MS, to consider getting it. Most DMTs are not expected to affect the responses to these vaccines, though some may make the vaccines less effective. Coordinating the timing of vaccine administration with these DMTs may provide the best vaccine response.

Treatments for COVID-19 in People with MS

One drug is approved for the treatment of COVID-19 and the FDA has authorized the use of other treatments for those who meet specific criteria. If someone with MS gets COVID-19 and meets the criteria to use an authorized drug, it will be prescribed. Individual risks, including current use of a DMT, will need to be considered in this decision making. There are resources available from Survivor Corps to help you create a plan in case you test positive for COVID-19 and to help you better understand COVID-19 treatments.

COVID-19 Screening for People Living with MS

If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 please contact your primary care provider for guidance right away. The provider can tell you if you need to be tested for COVID-19 and give direction on where to find a test. Be sure to tell your provider of any medications you take, including a DMT.

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