Treating multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic

By: Wallace Brownlee, PhD, FRACP, Dennis Bourdette, MD, Simon Broadley, PhD, FRACP, Joep Killestein, PhD, and Olga Ciccarelli, PhD, FRCP

Neurology® 2020;94:949-952. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000009507

The emergence of novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)1 and the subsequent pandemic present a unique challenge to neurologists managing patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and related neuroinflammatory disorders, such as neuromyelitis spectrum disorder (NMOSD).

National professional bodies (e.g., Italian Society of Neurology and Association of British Neurologists) and patient organizations (e.g., National MS Society, MS International Feder- ation, UK MS Society, and MS Australia) have responded rapidly by issuing guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily focused on MS disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). In this commentary, we highlight the implications of COVID-19 for people with MS and related disorders, including the risk of respiratory infections, general health advice, and recom- mendations (from consensus-based guidelines) for immunotherapies, relapse management, and service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.