Researchers in Italy have been gathering data to understand if having MS increases the risk of a more serious infection of COVID-19 and whether taking disease modifying therapies may add an extra layer of risk.
Early results from the data that has been collected so far, has now been published. The Italian Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and the Multiple Sclerosis Study Group of the Italian Neurological Society collaborated on an online platform which allowed data to be collected in Italy about people who have been diagnosed with or have suspected case of COVID-19 and are living with MS. Neurologists across the country were asked to input data and share patient outcomes.
Preliminary data includes 232 people living with MS. Of that 232, 57 people had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 175 people had suspected cases. 211 of the individuals were taking a disease modifying therapy.
The data recorded the severity of COVID-19 the 232 individuals and found;
- 223 (96%) had a mild infection
- 4 (2%) had a severe infection
- 6 (3%) had a critical infection
Within the critical category, one person recovered and five people died.
Those who died tended to be older (over 50) and had other health conditions in addition to MS.
The data does not suggest that the current advice on disease modifying therapies should be changed and it is too early to say whether they make a difference to recovery.
The results provide some positivity as they suggest that having MS doesn’t increase your likelihood of a more severe COVID-19 infection and that like the general public, the majority of people living with MS are likely to have a mild infection.
The paper is available here: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(20)3014…