The impact of COVID-19 on patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder; a pilot study

By: Anna Tomczaka, May H. Han

Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States 

Neuroimunology Division, Multiple Sclerosis Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States

Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. Volume 45, October 2020, 102347

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is a CNS neuroinflammatory disorder, mediated by the pathogenic autoantibody aquaporin-4 (AQP4-IgG). Current treatment includes long-term use of immunomodulatory therapies, leading to increased rates of infections among this population. It is of interest therefore, to study how the COVID-19 pandemic affects NMOSD patients in terms of their disease activity. A 15-point questionnaire was administered to 33 participants living in Northern California with NMOSD, MS and other related disorders. Although none of the participants were diagnosed with COVID-19, our results show that 2 participants with NMOSD experienced new onset of neurological symptoms and 2 experienced worsening of previous neurological symptoms – suggesting a possible effect of pandemic-related stress on this CNS autoimmune disorder.