Study shows promising results for people with MS and COVID-19

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A recent study is showing some encouraging results when it comes to COVID-19 and people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers found they are not at greater risk for complications from the virus.

“It doesn’t appear that having MS increases the risk for more complications, the rate of hospitalization, the rate of needing a ventilator, artificial ventilation, the rate of ICU admission, and the rate of death. They were all very similar to what we’ve seen overall in the North American population,” said Dr. Robert Fox, a neurologist for Cleveland Clinic.

Fox is one of the authors on the study. He said they looked at data from more than 1,600 MS patients with COVID-19 in North America. MS is an autoimmune disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord.

He said they made some interesting discoveries, including how MS therapies impact COVID-19 complications. They found a majority of MS treatments didn’t make a difference. However, there were a few that led to worse outcomes, like steroids.

Fox said this information can be helpful for doctors when it comes to caring for patients and discussing prevention.

“Of course we recommend to all of our patients to do the standard things to avoid COVID-19, handwashing, and masking and social distancing. But we emphasize it even more so in patients who are getting steroids, or patients who are getting those MS therapies who put them at higher risk for complications,” he explained.

As for the vaccine, Fox said they are recommending people with MS to get vaccinated. He said preliminary data shows it is considered safe.