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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 with 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 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 vaccinated. Disease modifying therapies (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.

Preventing COVID-19 in People with MS

REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab, administered together) is authorized by the FDA for emergency use as post-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) for COVID-19 in people over the age of 12 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 (including hospitalization or death).

REGEN-COV is not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19. Vaccination against COVID-19 continues to be the most effective way to prevent serious illness and decrease the spread of COVID-19. REGEN-COV is safe to use with MS disease modifying therapies (DMTs) but the timing might need to be coordinated. People with MS should talk to their MS healthcare provider about whether the use of REGEN-COV is appropriate for them and how to time it safely with their DMT. Find REGEN-COV treatment near you.

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. . Find treatment near you.

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.

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