Balancing COVID-19 Infection Risk and Disease Control in Pediatric Onset MS: Teri Schreiner, MD


The associate professor at the University of Colorado highlighted the limitations of standard care visits in collecting crucial data from pediatric multiple sclerosis centers. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

“We know that B cell depleting therapies are among the highest efficacy treatments for pediatric onset MS. Therefore, while this study offers us some information that we may need to pay particular attention to infection risk among these populations, we need to weigh that risk against the benefit of a well-controlled disease.”

The severity of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, varies depending on the patient’s conditions and specific mutations in the several virus variants.1 Based on research, multiple sclerosis (MS) does not seem to place patients at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection; however, progressive disease course, higher disability status, and B-cell depleting therapies may all negatively impact their infection severity.2

A recently published study led by Teri Schreiner, MD, investigated the prevalence and severity of COVID-19 infection among a cohort of pediatric patients with MS and related disorders, as well as the impact of disease-modifying therapies. Results demonstrated that B-cell-depleting treatment was associated with higher risk of COVID-19, higher rates of hospitalization, and ICU admission. Thus, the findings suggest that the therapy may cause a higher risk of severe COIVD-19 infection.3

Schreiner, associate professor at the University of Colorado, recently sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview to explain overcoming limitations of standard care visits in the study to collect more specific and unified data elements for future research. She also talked about the additional measures that can be taken to assess the immune response and serum IgG levels in patients with pediatric onset MS and COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, she spoke about how clinicians can balance the infection risk associated with pediatric MS and disease control with B cell depleting therapy.

1. Fernandes de Souza WD, Fonseca DMD, Sartori A. COVID-19 and Multiple Sclerosis: A Complex Relationship Possibly Aggravated by Low Vitamin D Levels. Cells. 2023 Feb 21;12(5):684. doi: 10.3390/cells12050684. PMID: 36899820; PMCID: PMC10000583.
2. Dyczkowska K, Kalinowska-Łyszczarz A. Navigating the landscape of COVID-19 for Multiple Sclerosis patients and clinicians. Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2023;57(1):90-100. doi:10.5603/PJNNS.a2023.0004
3. Schreiner T, Wilson-Murphy M, Mendelt-Tillema J, et al. Characteristics of pediatric patients with multiple sclerosis and related disorders infected with SARS-CoV-2. Mult Scler. 2023;29(4-5):576-584. doi:10.1177/13524585231151948
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