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Severity of COVID-19 Infection in MS patients

In a large study of 347 patients in a French MS registry in France, the risks associated with more severe COVID-19 disease were similar to that in the general population -age and obesity, progressive disease and more severe baseline disability. Among the DMTs, the more immunosuppressive treatments were associated with more severe COVID-19 disease. Even though the numbers were small, among 4 patients in this analysis who required mechanical ventilation, three were on anti-CD20 targeted therapy ( rituximab, ocrelizumab). It would be prudent to be cautious before starting or continuing this or similar immune suppressive treatment for patients and assess the need on an individual basis.  Overall the data from this study provides some reassurance in general about MS treatment and COVID-19 disease severity, but it is vital that one assess the risks versus benefits individually carefully before starting and/or continuing DMT. And for patients on immune suppressive treatment, educate about COVID-19 infections and reiterate and emphasize that they to follow all pre-cautionary measures diligently to decrease risk of potential exposure to COVID-19.

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