COVID-19 Infections, not the Vaccines, Provoke MS Flares

The role of viral infections in causing exacerbations of Multiple Sclerosis is well known. Potential safety concerns about using immunosuppressive MS disease modifying therapies (DMTs) during the COVID-19 pandemic are overstated, according to most MS experts.

A new large community-based study found that 57% of people with MS and COVID-19 experience an MS exacerbation during their infection, including 20% who develop new MS symptoms. Taking a DMT reduces that risk by 44%, about the same as the overall relapse rate reduction of many DMTs.

These findings highlight the urgency of protecting people with MS with the overwhelmingly safe COVID-19 vaccines. It is also important not to delay or alter treatment of their currently effective DMTs.

Adapted from the article by Garjani et al in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 2021.

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